• The University of Western Australia (M304), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

I completed my BSc (Hons) and PhD in Psychology at the University of Western Australia. I spent 2 years as a post-doc at Northwestern University working with Roger Ratcliff on modelling of decision-making. I took up a teaching and learning position at the University of Bristol in 2003. In 2014 I returned to UWA to take up an ARC Future Fellowship. Between 2020 and 2022 I have served as Head of School of Psychological Science.

Research

My research uses a combination of experimental psychology and computational modelling to examine memory, judgement, and decision-making.

My memory research has focussed on the development and testing of models of serial order memory, and will collaborators such as Klaus Oberauer and Stephan Lewandowsky I have developed the Serial-Order-in-a-Box (SOB) model. I’ve also been interested in common principles underlying short-term and episodic memory, and work on understanding the role of serial ordering and temporal context in episodic memory, including the hierarchical structuring of information in memory.

My decision-making work examines the dynamics of choice in different types of decision scenarios (e.g., utility maximisation, saccadic decision-making) and has more recently examined how we make chains of decisions to move us toward our goals. Our recent goal pursuit examines decision-making under uncertainty, particularly where that uncertainty is introduced by other agents. Much of this decision-making and judgement work also considers the role of memory, including reinforcement learning and memory for specific instances.

Current projects

Some questions currently being investigated in the lab, and potential Honours or PhD projects, include:

  • How do we remember information that is important? What mechanisms are used to encode that information and retrieve it effectively?
  • How do people make rapid decisions in competitive contexts?
  • How is information attended to and integrated when making decisions that move us towards goals? Do we process all information, or focus on different types of information as we get closer to our goals (or further away from them)?
  • What is the role of working memory in goal pursuit decisions?
  • How do we sample from past experience to make predictions about the future?
  • To what extent is judgement relative, and how does that relativity impact on evaluation and choice?
  • How do we factor in other people’s outcomes when assessing outcomes for ourselves? Do we prefer to be better off than others, or have a preference for equality? And are there individual differences in these preferences?

Research expertise keywords

  • Cognition
  • Short-term memory
  • Working memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Computational modelling
  • Decision-making

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