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Overman presents research at Psychonomic Society conference, serves as invited panelist at Women in Cognitive Science meeting

Amy Overman, who is associate professor of psychology, faculty member in the neuroscience program and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, shared results of recent memory experiments as well as professional advice at the 57th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, which was held Nov. 17-20 in Boston.  

The Psychonomic Society describes itself as "the home for scientists who study how the mind works," and this year's annual meeting brought "home" more than 2,500 scientists from 43 different countries. Among those scientists were Elon's Amy Overman, associate professor of psychology, faculty member in the neuroscience program and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and Mary Bernhardt '17, a psychology major and Elon College Fellow.

Overman and Bernhardt co-authored a poster at the conference titled "Generation and corrective feedback in memory for context." The poster presented results of a recent set of experiments in which participants were asked to think of examples of categories.

For example, when asked to name a fruit, a participant might type "banana." Then the participant was given either confirmatory feedback, which displayed their own response as the "correct" answer, or corrective feedback, which displayed a different category member (e.g., "apple") as the "correct" answer.

Interestingly, when they received corrective feedback, participants later had better memory for the font color of the "correct" word than when they received confirmatory feedback. These results suggest that corrective feedback can cause learners to store more contextual information about the details of a learning episode, and has applications for classroom learning. Also collaborating on this project was Joseph Stephens of N.C. A&T State University.

Overman co-authored a second poster with collaborators John Huhn and Nancy Dennis of Penn State University titled "The age-related associative memory deficit can be modified by manner of presentation." This poster reported the results of an experiment that tested memory for associations between faces and scenes.

The results indicated that memory differences between young and older adults depended on the way in which the faces and scenes were presented while being studied, and whether they were presented the same way again during the memory test. These findings have implications for understanding how age-related changes in brain structure affect the formation of memories.

Both of Overman's research studies were supported by her current funding from the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to her research presentations, Overman also served as an invited panelist at the 16th annual meeting of Women in Cognitive Science, which is an affiliate organization of the Psychonomic Society. The panel discussion was titled "Life in the Academy: Balancing Work and Home," and also featured professors Karen Emmorey of San Diego State University, Victor Ferreira of the Univeristy of California, San Diego, and Duane Watson, of Vanderbilt University.

During the discussion, Overman shared strategies for maintaining personal goals and family relationships while managing the many responsibilities of faculty including teaching, research, mentoring, and service to the university and scholarly community. Women in Cognitive Science is supported in part by funding from the National Science Foundation.

Amy Overman,
12/6/2016 11:55 AM