Zacks studies perception and cognition using behavioral experiments, functional MRI, computational modeling, and testing of neurological patients. One line of research examines how people parse the continuous stream of behavior into meaningful events, and how this affects memory and cognition. Another line examines how mental imagery contributes to reasoning about spatial relations, especially how mental representations of one’s body are updated during imagery and reasoning.
Why do so many of us cry at the movies? Why do we flinch when Rocky Balboa takes a punch? What’s really happening in our brains as we immerse ourselves in the lives being acted out on screen? These are the questions that Washington University in St. Louis neuroscientist Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, explores in his new book, “Flicker: Your Brain on Movies.”
Memory problems related to day-to-day activities — one of the largest complaints of people with Alzheimer’s diease — may be due to older adults’ inability to segment their daily lives into discrete experiences, suggests new psychology research from Washington University in St. Louis. How we perceive events in our current lives influences how we remember them in the future, the study finds.
Every day we make thousands of tiny predictions — when the bus will arrive, who is knocking on the door, whether the dropped glass will break. Now, in one of the first studies of its kind, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are beginning to unravel the process by which the brain makes these everyday prognostications.