Human Episodic Memory Research

drawing of a brain .

Learn more about how our memories are able to discriminate between highly similar stimuli. Get hands-on experience in research by running participants through computer-based memory experiments.

Project description

The goal of this project is to investigate factors that affect human episodic memory, especially memory for highly overlapping stimuli. A key component of episodic memory is the ability to discriminate between very similar stimuli which may occur across different memory episodes. It is thought that our brains (specifically the hippocampus and surrounding cortices) perform this discrimination through a process called "pattern separation." Pattern separation orthogonalizes similar stimuli and reduces the interference between these memories. Our research involves testing pattern separation performance in participants via computer-based memory experiments.

Project outcome

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Fall, Spring
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic credit
Who is eligible All undergraduate students. Completion of PSY350 is preferred. MatLab experience is a plus, but not required.
National Science Foundation Fellowship

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Joyce Lacy

Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology

222 Park Hall

Phone: 716-645-0185


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • CITI training to work with human subjects