Faulty memory finds a new culprit

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.

Search engine pioneer speaks at Olin

Before Google became a household word, engineers like Anna Patterson (EN ’87, EN ’87) were figuring out how to search the Internet and find the most relevant answers to random queries. The director of Google Research returns to campus at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, as guest speaker co-sponsored by Olin Business School and the School of Engineering & Applied Science. She will talk about her experience in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur and member of the Google team.

Memory links to 40 winks

When it comes to executing items on tomorrow’s to-do list, it’s best to think it over, then “sleep on it,” say psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis. The researchers have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future, a skill known as prospective memory.

Cell phone ringtones can pose major distraction, impair recall

A flurry of recent research has documented that talking on a cell phone poses a dangerous distraction for drivers and others whose attention should be focused elsewhere. Now, a new study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finds that just the ring of a cell phone may be equally distracting, especially when it comes in a classroom setting or includes a familiar song as a ringtone.

Product recalls need not be a company’s downfall

Mattel and Ford are just the latest in a long line of companies to enact a product recall. Whether it’s lead paint or tainted dog food, every manufacturer faces the potential that its product needs to be taken off the shelf. How a firm handles its logistics and marketing after and before a recall can make or break a company’s success in the long run.

False memories, failing recall are not an inevitable consequence of aging, research suggests

The human brainThe failing memories of older adults, including their tendency to remember things that never happened, are not an inevitable consequence of aging, according to Washington University research presented Aug. 8 at the American Psychological Association meeting in Toronto. The study offers evidence that false memories and other cognitive declines often associated with normal aging can be more directly linked to measurable declines in executive control functions in frontal brain lobes.