Dr Jane Herron
Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellow
My research interests consist of the cognitive neuroscience of human episodic memory. Episodic memory can be characterised as memory for our personal past, and is therefore sometimes referred to as autobiographical memory. A cognitive neuroscience approach to the study of episodic memory involves analysing both behavioural performance and brain activity associated with remembering, either by recording electrical brain activity at the scalp and/or the resulting magnetic fields (EEG/MEG), or by identifying active brain regions via changes in blood oxygenation levels (functional magnetic resonance imaging). My primary research interests lie in the structure and function of episodic memory systems in healthy young human adults, as findings from these studies can inform our understanding both of changes in memory performance across the lifespan, and of memory impairments in a variety of diseases. Specifically, I am interested in the ways in which episodic retrieval is constrained, directed and controlled.
I have previously supervised doctoral students, taught General Psychology as a free standing module, supervised level 2 practicals, and marked undergraduate essays.
Selected publications (2014 onwards)
Full list of publications
Research topics and related papers
The retrieval of information from our personal past is the defining feature of the human episodic memory system. Due to the vast amount of information stored in episodic memory, mnemonic control processes are required to extract task-relevant information from the episodic memory store and to employ this in a flexible and goal-directed manner. Preparatory retrieval control processes are thought to facilitate this by influencing retrieval cue processing so as to maximise the likelihood of retrieving task-relevant information. Exploring these preparatory control processes constitutes one strand of my research interests (e.g. Herron & Wilding, 2004, 2006a, 2006b).
It has also been demonstrated that we are able to exert a certain degree of control over the recollection of episodic information according to task demands and retrieval strategies. These strategies are evident both in differential neural activity elicited by unstudied items across different retrieval tasks (thus indicating differential cue processing) and in differential memory-related neural activity elicited by equally memorable items depending on their task relevance (e.g. Herron & Rugg 2003a, 2003b, Herron & Wilding 2005). The extent to which we are able to do this, and the factors facilitating these strategic retrieval processes, are also of interest to me.
I typically acquire electroencephalographic (EEG) and/or magnetoencephalographic (MEG) measures of neural activity in combination with behavioural measures of memory and cognition. These real-time measures permit a separation between processes that occur prior to retrieval and those that occur as part of or following a retrieval attempt. In some experiments structural MRI data is also acquired, thereby enabling source localisation of the real-time activity and insights into the neural basis of preparatory retrieval processing. Recent work suggests that it is possible to locate with reasonable precision the sources of temporally extended EEG and MEG activity.
RCUK Academic Fellowship (2005)
BBSRC New Investigator Award (BB/E009921/1): Multi-modal brain imaging studies of mnemonic control processes. 2007-2010.
Bial Foundation Bursary (45/06): Psychophysiological studies of memory for imagined and perceived events: the effects of schizotypy. 2007-2008.
1996 BSc University of Manchester, Psychology
2002 Ph.D. University College London, Thesis: Event-Related Potential Correlates of Recollection and Familiarity
Invited reviewer for following journals: Acta Psychologica, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Neuropsychologica, Brain & Cognition, Brain Research, Neuroscience Research
Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellow, Cardiff University, 2015-present
Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2008-2015
RCUK Academic Fellow, Cardiff University, 2005-2008
Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2002-2005
Research Assistant, Institute of Cognitive Neurocience, University College London, 1998-2002