Mr. Richard Ronayne
Prof. Jason Mattingley (primary)
Prof. Paul Dux
Prof. Gail Robinson
Episodic memory, the ability to recall specific events and experiences from the past, is a fundamental component of human cognition. It allows us to mentally travel through time, from revisiting our childhood, to exploring future hypothetical scenarios, to remembering where we parked our car or who we had lunch with yesterday, all accessible in the cinema of our mind. Our brains achieve this amazing feat via complex interactions across a vast and delicate network of interconnected cortical regions. This complexity means episodic memory is quite vulnerable to damage and disease, making it one of the first cognitive casualties in old age. Unfortunately, most measures of episodic memory do not reflect how it is used in every-day life. This makes clinical diagnoses using these measures less sensitive, and undermines prospective interventions aimed at improving episodic memory. Furthermore, interventions designed to improve episodic memory in later life are virtually non-existent.
My research has two main goals.
1. Design, build, and trial an episodic memory measure that has ecological validity.
2. Design, build, and trial a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that improves episodic memory performance.
My first project is addressing goal one with virtual reality to create realistic but highly controlled episodic experiences, where recall accuracy can be measured across multiple days after encoding. My second project is addressing goal two with phase-dependent transcranial magnetic stimulation to the precuneus, a key node in the episodic memory network.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Subjective Cognitive Decline
Neural Entrainment via Sensory Stimulation