Associate Professor and Leader of the Memory Lab
I obtained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen (2003), and a PhD in Neuropsychology from the University of Edinburgh (2007). Between 2007 and 2013 I was a post-doctoral research fellow within the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit of the University of Edinburgh, supported by personal research fellowships from Alzheimer's Research UK and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. I joined Heriot-Watt University in 2013 as a Research Leader and Assistant Professor/Lecturer.
I was awarded the 2016 Elizabeth Warrington Prize from the British Neuropsychological Society for distinguished research in neuropsychology.
I lead the Memory Lab at Heriot-Watt University. My primary research explores forgetting and memory consolidation in healthy people as well as in patients with amnesia (memory impairment). Memory consolidation is the process that strengthens newly formed memories over time.
I am particularly interested in the effect of behavioural/cognitive state on the consolidation of new memories: our research indicates that new memories are consolidated better when people rest wakefully immediately after new learning than when they attend to other information immediately after new learning. We have demonstrated in several studies that wakeful rest can be especially beneficial for patients with amnesia, including patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, some of whom show remarkable improvements in memory retention under such condition (see my publications, Research Gate page, our lab research page, and lab twitter for further details and news).
I am also interested in imagery/the mind's eye, the lack thereof (aphantasia), and navigation (see lab research page).
I collaborate widely with fellow psychologists and neuropsychologists as well as with neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, animal neurophysiologists, and neuroimagers.
In addition to conducting research in neuropsychology/cognitive neuroscience I teach Introduction to Psychology at Level 1, Research Methods and Analysis at Level 2 and Neuropsychology at Level 4. I also supervise final year thesis projects within the the broad theme of Cognition, Brain & Behaviour, in particular memory, imagery and other aspects of cognition.
I currently am the Research Ethics Officer for the Psychology Department at Heriot-Watt University.
I am also an Associate Member of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems at the University of Edinburgh (http://www.ccns.ed.ac.uk/People/Associates/dewar.html) and of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (http://www.ccace.ed.ac.uk/node/287)