• Cognition, Attention, Law & Memory Lab

  • What We Do

    Our Research

    Applied Attention & Memory

    We conduct research in the laboratory and the field with law enforcement, college students, children, and elderly adults. Our research concerns attention and memory including how they works and how they often times do not work. We are especially interested in the role of psychology in the legal system.

    Our Research

    Attention & Memory in the Legal System

    We study conditions under which attention and memory is likely to be inaccurate and ways of making it more accurate. Some of this research concerns children’s memory. In addition, we do research on the role of attention and memory in searching for missing and wanted persons. We primarily do this in the context of a prospective memory framework called prospective person memory.

    The CALM lab

    We're a team!

    Our lab mission is to better understand the role of attention and memory in various applied contexts (so far, we’ve been focused exclusively on the legal system)! We aim to ask questions and provide answers that can directly improve people’s lives. Disseminating this work is an essential component of the laboratory.

    The CALM lab

    We're a team!

    The lab is a community where everyone who is interested in contributing to our mission is welcome. We are committed to viewing each member as a whole person whose life exists inside and outside of the lab. We are especially interested in recruiting new members and collaborators who are interested in contributing to our mission while being a great community team-player. We are committed to being a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community. Excellence can only be achieved via a diverse & supported team.

  • Projects

    Here is some of our current work!

    Information Modality

    What effect does the way information is received have on eyewitness memory?

    People can intercept information in many different ways (e.g., conversations, news, social media, etc.). Together with an undergraduate collaborator at Knox College, we are studying the effects of information modality on eyewitness memory using the misinformation paradigm.

    Vigilance & Missing Persons

    How well do citizens sight missing persons when the search has their full attention?

    Research on how citizens search for missing persons has focused on how people search when they are multi-tasking (e.g., searching while doing another unrelated task). However, many people volunteer for search parties. The CALM lab and Dr. Jack Arnal plan to investigate the role of vigilance in searching for missing people.

    Empathy & Missing Persons

    How does the empathy citizens feel towards missing persons impact their search behavior?

    Research in social psychology suggests that feeling empathy can lead to prosocial behaviors. Together with two undergraduate collaborators from Knox College and the University of Southern Maine, we will examine how feelings of empathy impact missing persons searches.

    Attention & Eyewitness Identification

    What impact does attention orientation have on eyewitness identification?

    In collaboration with Mario Baldassari, Ira Hyman, Lorraine Hope, D. Stephen Lindsay, & Eric Mah we will examine the impact of pre-event instructions about how eyewitnesses should orient their attention on eyewitness identification accuracy. Instructions have been found to impact whether and when eyewitnesses notice a crime in research by Ira Hyman and colleagues.

    Eyetracking Attention in Legal Settings

    When does attention fail in persons searches or when a person is a witness to a crime?

    Dr. Kara Moore recently received funding for a computer mounted eyetracker! We plan to use this tool to take our research to the next level to understand attentional mechanisms at play in eyewitness memory and persons searches. For example, can eye movements predict whether a person will make a sighting of a missing person?

    Low Prevalence & Person Searches

    Can combining low prevalence tasks improve performance on both tasks?

    In collaboration with Dawn, we will embed a wanted persons search in an identification face matching task. False identifications are rare and encountering wanted persons is also rare. As a result, people perform poorly on both tasks. Combining the tasks may prompt reminding especially as wanted persons may use false identification documents.