Christopher Donoff defends MSc
Christopher Donoff successfully defended his MSc on “Measuring mental imagery” (University of Alberta; co-supervised with Anthony Singhal). He has already begun a MSc Data Science degree at the University of British Columbia. We wish him all the best!
New academic year
The new academic year is upon us–and it’s still such a lovely campus!
Dr. Madan contributed to the PRIME-DE workshop, and accompanying BrainHack event. Exciting advances and discussions of non-human primate imaging methods.
Cortical Cartography talk at MNI
Dr. Madan gave a well-attended invited seminar at the Montreal Neurological Institute on novel brain morphology measures for quantifying aging and other inter-individual differences.
Effectiveness of the method of loci is only minimally related to factors that should influence imagined navigation
“As described and instructed, this strategy apparently relies on a spatial/navigational metaphor. However, whether the method relies critically on this spatial/navigation metaphor is unknown. An alternative hypothesis is that the navigation component is superfluous to memory success, and the method of loci is better viewed as a special case of a larger class of imagery-based peg strategies.”
Dr. Madan will be the keynote speaker for the cognitive session at Aspects of Neuroscience 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. His talk will be entitled: “The role of the hippocampus in memory for associations”.
“Here we developed a computational approach for estimating sulcal width and depth that relies on cortical surface reconstructions output by FreeSurfer. While other approaches for estimating sulcal morphology exist, studies often require the use of multiple brain morphology programs that have been shown to differ in their approaches to localize sulcal landmarks, yielding morphological estimates based on inconsistent boundaries.”
“Tomographic brain imaging has a rich iconography. Whilst figures are prepared for scientific communication (i.e., directed to other researchers) they also often end-up on magazine and journal covers (i.e., directed to a lay audience). Scientific figures should however not be just glossy illustrations of what is in the text.”
Reduced associative memory for negative information: impact of confidence and interactive imagery during study
“Although item-memory for emotional information is enhanced, memory for associations between items is often impaired for negative, emotionally arousing compared to neutral information. We tested two possible mechanisms underlying this impairment, using picture pairs: 1) higher confidence in one’s own ability to memorise negative information may cause participants to under-study negative pairs; 2) better interactive imagery for neutral pairs could facilitate associative memory for neutral pairs more than for negative pairs.”
“A common finding is that items associated with higher reward value are subsequently remembered better than items associated with lower value. A confounding factor is that when a higher value stimuli is presented, this typically signals to participants that it is now a particularly important time to engage in the task. […] Results converged on null effects of value on subsequent free recall accuracy. Re-analyses attributed Madan et al.’s value-bias to competition between choice items that were paired during learning. Value may not bias memory if it does not signal task importance or induce inter-item competition.”
It was great to speak on the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Trainee Professional Development Panel last week!
Here’s a link to the write-up about the event: A Note to Worried Graduate Students: There’s Still Hope.