June 2019: New team member
We are delighted to Welcome Trudi Collier to our team. Trudi will work as a part-time Research Assistant on a project investigating possible differences in visual memory abilities beween deaf and hearing individuals. This is a collaborative project between Dr Michael Craig & Dr Michaela Dewar of the Heriot-Watt Memory Lab, Professor Graham Turner from the , Heriot-Watt University, and Professor Narinder Kapur from University College London. The research project is funded by an Internal Research Grant award from Heriot-Watt University's School of Social Sciences.
January 2019: New paper in Hippocampus
In a new paper in Hippocampus we report a study demonstrating that quiet post-leaning rest not only protects against memory decay, but can result in actual time-related improvements in new memories. Using a sensitive virutal-reality cognitive mapping paradigm, we tested the accuracy of peoples' cognitive maps (via a pointing task) shortly after initial navigation and after 10 minutes of quiet rest. Results showed that people were more accurate in their pointing towards environmental landmarks following 10 minutes of quiet rest (or an ongoing task) than if their memory was probed shortly after initial navigation of the virtual town environment. These findings demonstrate that actual improvements in human memories are not resticted to sleep. Thus, contary to conventional wisdom and theories, the passage of (day)time need not always result in forgetting. You can read the paper here.
Nov 2018: Dementia Research Showcase at Heriot-Watt University
Interested in learning about dementia research? Join us for an afternoon of interesting talks about dementia research at Heriot-Watt University on Wed Nov 28th (14:15 - 17:15). There will be a selection of short, informative talks from researchers in our lab, as well as other dementia researchers and organisations from across the UK. The event is free to attend and open to anyone inside and outside of the scientific community. You can read more and register to attend the event here.
Sept 2018: New paper in Cortex
New Memory Lab paper showing that awake quiescence facilitates the gaining of insight. Using a number-based problem-solving task (the Number Reduction Task – ‘NRT’), we reveal that, like sleep, awake quiescence facilitates the rapid gaining of insight: young adults were more than twice as likely to demonstrate new explicit knowledge of a hidden solution to the NRT if initial exposure to this task was followed by 10 min of awake quiescence than an unrelated perceptual task. These findings indicate that, at least for the NRT, the development of insight is not restricted to sleep but can be achieved via a brief period of awake quiescence. Thus, contrary to conventional wisdom and theories, when faced with a novel problem we may not always need to ‘sleep on it’ to find a novel solution, simply ‘resting on it’ may be enough. You can read the paper here.
July 2018: Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant
Thank you to the Carnegie Trust for Scottish Universities for awarding Michael a Research Incentive Grant to investigate how memory and consolidation changes as we grow older. The project will kick off in October 2018 and will run for 9 months.
June 2018: Alzheimer Scotland annual conference
Michael presented a poster outlining the research being conducted as part of his Alzheimer's Society Fellowship project at the Alzheimer Scotland annual conference. You can view Michael's poster via his Twitter account here.
March 2018: New research paper
New paper from our lab published in Scientific Reports. The paper reports a study which provides evidence that the memory benefit of post-encoding rest is not restricted to supporting how much we remember, but it also protects the fine detail of retained memories. You can download the paper here.
March 2018: Alzheimer's Society Undergraduate bursary award
We are delighted that Elana Bertram will join our lab over the summer as part of an Alzheimer's Society Undergraduate bursary award. Elana is a 3rd year Psychology student at Heriot-Watt University and will conduct a project using low-density EEG methods to investigate how, in younger adults, the brain processes new memories under different post-learning conditions. You can read more about Elana's research and interests here.
March 2018: Alzheimer's Research UK Scotland Network junior member grant
We are greatful to Alzheimer's Research UK Scotland Network for awarding Michael a junior member grant to conduct a pilot project investigating how normal ageing affects the way in which new memories are processed by the brain. Michael will work with Michaela and Mario Parra (Heriot-Watt Univesity Neurophysiology Lab) on this project. We are delighted that Shannon Strickland, a recently graduated Heriot-Watt University Psychology student, will work on the project as a Research Assistant. You can read more about Shannon's research and interests here.
April 2018: Michael at the International Conference on Learning & Memory 2018
Michael attended the International Conference on Learning and Memory 2018 in Huntington Beach, California, where he presented a poster reporting some early behavioural findings from his Fellowship project.
Feb 2018: BBC Future article and podast
Michael has chatted with a BBC Future journalist about our lab's research. They have written a neat online article reporting some of our findings. They also spoke abou our work on the BBC Science Hour podcast, which you can listen to here.
Sept 2017: Michael at BPS Cognitive Section meeting
Michael presented some of our lab's virtual reality work examining spatial memory consolidation at the BPS Cognitive Section meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. The talk was part of a symposium on using virtual reality methods to study memory. You can read a little about this work on our Research page.
June 2017: This year's Memory Lab project students have graduated!
Congratulations to all Memory Lab project students and volunteer research assistants graduating this June! We are proud of you and will miss you all!
June 2017: Michaela Dewar participates in EPS Forgetting Workshop
Michaela recently presented a talk on 'Forgetting due to interference during consolidation' and participated in a roundtable discussion on forgetting at the EPS Forgetting Workshop in Edinburgh. Day 1 of the workshop was also attended by lab members Shannon Strickland, Georgina Ottaway and former lab member Rachael Hastie.
May 2017: Michael Craig presents poster on his new research project at Alzheimer's conference
Michael recently presented a poster on his new Alzheimer's Disease research project at the Alzheimer's Society Conference in London.
May 2017: Research assistant joins the lab for new project
We are delighted that Shannon Strickland has joined the lab as a research assistant over the summer. Shannon will be working on an ARUK Scotland Network funded pilot project examining the suitability of immersive virtual reality technology as a potential tool for memory assessment and intervention in Alzheimer's disease. The project will build on previous findings from our lab and will involve participants being presented virtual and real-world environments in the lab via a head-mounted display that can offer an immersive experience.
March 2017: Interested in helping with research? We're looking for volunteers!
We are looking for younger and older people in the Edinburgh area to volunteer to take part in our research. You can read about some of our current research projects here. Our studies usually involve reimbursement for your time/travel expenses. You can read more about volunteering for our research here. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 2016: Michael Craig awarded small grant for pilot project using immersive virtual reality
Thank you to Alzheimer's Research UK's Scotland Network for awarding our team a small grant to support a new pilot project that will begin to examine the suitability of immersive virtual reality methods (applied using a head mounted display) as a potential tool for cognitive assessment and intervention in older age and Alzheimer's disease.
November 2016: Michael Craig awarded Alzheimer's Society Research Fellowship
We are delighted to announce that Michael has been awarded a 3-year Alzheimer's Society Research Fellowship award to investigate memory consolidation in Alzheimer's disease. The project is part of a new collaboration between Michael, Michaela Dewar and Mario Parra (Heriot-Watt Neurophysiology lab). Read more about the project here.
October 2016: Michaela Dewar awarded Wellcome Trust Seed Award:
Michaela has been awarded a prestiguous Wellcome Trust Seed Award to examine memory consolidation and interference. The innovative project will begin an exciting new collaboration with researchers from the UK, Germany and the USA. You can read more about the project here.
October 2016: Lab research commended:
We are delighted that Cambridge University's recent Insights for Impact 2016 report cited our research findings as having made a substantial contribution to cognitive psychology and having potential to impact policy. You can download the report
October 2016: Fomer Memory Lab final year project student Rachael wins prestigious prize:
Ms Rachael Hastie, former Heriot-Watt University Memory Lab project student (class of 2016) and Research Assistant, has won the British Neuropsychological Society 'Undergraduate Project Prize' for her project on memory consolidation. She presented her research at the BNS Autumn Meeting in London in October 2016. Many congratulations Rachael! We are really proud of you.
March 2016: Postdoc Michael on the radio:
Dr Michael Craig from the Memory Lab recently spoke about our research on BBC Radio Scotland. You can listen to him here
March 2016: Lab Leader Michaela wins prestiguous research prize:
Dr Michaela Dewar from the Memory Lab has won the Elizabeth Warrington Prize 2016 from the British Neuropsychological Society for 'distinguished research in neuropsychology. She gave her Elizabeth Warrington Prize Lecture on March 17th in London.
January 2016: Our research in the New Scientist:
Some of our lab's research was recently featured in the New Scientist. You can read the article here.