SARMAC News for Fall 2016

SARMAC XII - Sydney 2017

SARMAC XII will be held from January 3-6 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is a beautiful and vibrant metropolitan city that has something for everyone:

  • Sydney Opera House: Take in a show or take a tour of this iconic Sydney attraction.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge. Walk across the bridge or climb to the top for sweeping views.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens: Take a walk and enjoy the local flora and fauna.
  • Taronga Zoo: Get up close to Australian wildlife and enjoy amazing city views.
  • Beaches: Explore the famous Bondi Beach or do the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee.
  • Sydney Aquarium: See Australia’s most exotic aquatic life up close.
  • Sydney Wildlife World: See Australia’s unique (and uniquely deadly) animals.
  • Sports: Australians love their sports! Take in a tennis match or a cricket game.
  • Luna Park: Ride a roller coaster in this vintage amusement park.
  • The Rocks: Explore the cobbled streets and colonial buildings in the oldest area of Sydney.

In the tradition of SARMAC we will deliver a stimulating scientific program. We are delighted to announce that the following exceptional academics have agreed to deliver keynote addresses:

  • Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus, University of California, Irvine
  • Professor Neil Brewer, Flinders University
  • Professor Richard Bryant, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Maryanne Garry, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Professor Qi Wang, Cornell University
  • We will also hear from our first J. Don Read Early Career Award recipient - Dr. Jason Chan.  

Our mission is to achieve a friendly, informal, but very high quality conference experience that will make the most of the beautiful Sydney location and the unique Australian culture. Many high quality workshops are offered on the morning of January 3rd.  For more information about the conference, please check out our website:

Member spotlight: Helen Paterson

Helen Paterson
Senior Lecturer
Psychology | Faculty of Science
The University of Sydney

How did you get interested in psychology?
I originally wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but I had to finish an undergraduate degree before pursuing education. I figured that a background in Psychology might be helpful for teaching, but the more I studied it, the more I wanted to learn about it. Eventually my undergraduate degree turned into a PhD, a postdoc, and then an academic position. Now I teach big people, not little ones, so I guess I haven’t veered too far off course!

Who has been most influential in your psych career?
There are two people who have been very influential in my Psychology career. In my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia I attended classes with Professor Peter Suedfeld. He mentioned in class that he does research investigating Holocaust survivors. I was fascinated by this and asked him if I could volunteer in his lab. He agreed to this and I worked with him throughout my undergraduate degree. This research experience was invaluable and helped me obtain a scholarship to pursue my PhD at the University of New South Wales. I had previously been to Sydney as an exchange student and had fallen in love with the city. In Sydney I met Associate Professor Richard Kemp, quite by accident. He had just arrived there as well and a mix-up with the admin staff meant that we were assigned to the same office! After we got talking about research he agreed to be my supervisor, and the rest is history. We continue to enjoy collaborating together on many projects, including the SARMAC XII conference in Sydney this January.
What is your first/best SARMAC conference experience?
My first SARMAC conference was in Aberdeen, Scotland. I was a PhD student at the time and I loved how friendly and inviting the conference was. This is something that I continue to enjoy about SARMAC.
My most salient memory of the conference was sitting down in a symposium and having Elizabeth Loftus sit down in the row right in front of me. I casually looked at her notepad and saw MY NAME written across the top of it!!! With a question about MY PRESENTATION!!! I hadn’t realised that she had been sitting in the audience during my presentation(and I’m secretly glad that I hadn’t because I would have freaked out had I known!).

Advice for grad students/young faculty?
My advice to students is that they should work hard and travel to as many conferences as they can. I used to think that I had a very busy life, but it’s not until I had two kids that I realised how busy things could get. I find it difficult to travel and get everything done these days. It’s good to travel when you’re young and build up personal contacts, both with more senior academics, but just as importantly with other students / ECRs who will go onto to be your colleagues.
What are you working on these days?
I particularly enjoy working in partnership with organisations such as the Fire Brigades, WorkCover, and Police. I am currently working with the NSW Police Force to explore some possible applications of recent developments in witness interviewing, including the SAI© developed by Fiona Gabbert, Lorraine Hope and Ron Fisher. I am also becoming more interested in the relationship between recall for a traumatic event and psychological well-being.

Tell us about your lab
I have a great lab of research students, volunteers, and colleagues. Working with such bright, motivated, and friendly people is one of the best parts of my job. I love how they keep their archaic supervisor up-to-date with things. They have recently initiated a Twitter account for the lab (@USyd_Forensic) and a blog ( We are always looking for new students and we have some funding for visiting academics.

Anything about the conference?
We are really excited to host the next SARMAC conference in Sydney. We have a stimulating scientific program and lots of fun activities planned. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the harbour, beaches, wildlife, and culture that Australia has to offer. I fell in love with Sydney several years ago and I’m sure many of you will too.


Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 95-232 (June 2016)

In this issue of JARMAC, the Special Section provides a retrospective glance at the conference held by the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC) in Victoria, 2015, which was organized by Professors Steve Lindsay and Don Read. The many highlights described in the journal include the keynote addresses by Professors Marcia Johnson and Itiel Dror. Johnson’s keynote called for a collaboration between behavioral cognitive psychologists and researchers in cognitive and clinical neuroscience to advance our understanding and treatment of mental disorders. Dror’s keynote described the Hierarchy of Expert Performance, and used forensic experts to illustrate the different levels in the hierarchy.

One of the outstanding symposiums included in the Victorian conference was on autobiographical memory. It included Norman Brown’s paper demonstrating how public events play an important role in how people think about their lives, but this depends on whether the events produce a fundamental and enduring change. Shi and Brown examined how immigration affects the content and organization of autobiographical memory. Thomsen et al. reviewed research on life story chapters, which are important extended time periods in people’s lives that have identifiable beginnings and endings. Finally, Belli and Al Baghal described a study suggesting that our previous understandings of autobiographical memory are incomplete and that there is a need to continually evaluate how autobiographical memory is structured.

The issue also includes a prospective glance at the next conference—SARMAC XII—which will be held in Sydney, Australia from 3-6 January, 2017. Sydney in summer is a wonderful place to visit, with a stunning harbor, scenic parks, and amazing wildlife. The outstanding keynote speakers include Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus, Professor Neil Brewer, Professor Richard Bryant, Professor Maryanne Garry, and Professor Qi Wang. We hope to see you there!

A note from Paula Hertel, JARMAC Editor-in-Chief

"To aid the new editorial team in making a quick start for our first issue (June, 2016), Maryanne Garry asked the Executive Committee of SARMAC'S Student Caucus to write our history. This was an excellent way to inculcate solid identification with the organization among its young members. And it produced an interesting collaborative history, based mainly on empirically verifiable data as well as some reconstructed memories (of course!). I hope you share my feeling of gratitude to William Crozier, in particular, who produced several revisions with unwavering good humor. Writing history is hard!" 

See Crozier et al.'s article (now Open Access!) about the history of SARMAC here.

SARMAC Student Caucus

A little over a year ago, student SARMAC members moved to create the first SARMAC Student Caucus. Since then, we've been hard at work to make the vision for a student-centered organization a reality. This means designing the Caucus, creating social networks, and looking to SARMAC XII. In terms of establishing the Caucus, we are currently working with the SARMAC Executive Board to establish the creation of the Caucus in the SARMAC bylaws. Furthermore, we're working with the Executive board to finalize our operational Policies. These Policies outline the responsibilities and goals of the Caucus and its leadership Student Committee, establishing a roadmap for the future - with some wisdom from the Executive Board added in for good measure. We have also worked on creating a social media presence. We have an official Student Caucus Facebook page (, as well as a newly-created Twitter page (@StudentSARMAC). We aim to share upcoming funding opportunities, exciting new publications, insightful blog posts, and other content of interest to student members. Finally, we are preparing for the trip to Sydney. Our first initiative is to provide travel grants for presenting students. With generous funding from the Executive Board, we hope to provide more travel funding than ever - creating more opportunities for students to share their research and participate in what is always a great conference. We also have plans for the conference itself. Right from the beginning, we'll be hosting a Welcome Social for students on the afternoon of January 3rd, providing a chance for students to interact - both newcomers and previous attendees alike. Second, in keeping order to provide professional networking, there will be a "Lunch with the Experts" where students can meet and converse with some of the top researchers in the field. Finally, we have scheduled a Student Caucus general meeting in order to discuss the future direction of the organization - including holding elections for the next Student Committee. More information on these events will be sent out as we get closer to the conference!

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions, contact us through Facebook (, Twitter (@StudentSARMAC), or email (

President:  Will Crozier; John Jay College
Vice President: Mario Baldassari; University of Victoria
Social Chair:  Ella Moeck; Flinders University
Secretary:  Dawn-Leah McDonald; Victoria University of Wellington
Treasurer:  Camille Weinsheimer; Simon Fraser University


February-September 2016

September 20, 2016
Rob Nash, Aston University & Bill Hirst, New School for Social Research
Four ways that other people can warp your memory

July 24, 2016
Jerri Edwards, University of South Florida
Brain games might cut Alzheimer’s risk
July 23, 2016
Anne Wilson, Wilfrid Laurier University
We’re more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses than we think: study
Eva Kemps, Flinders University
Why DO we end up snacking later in the day? Study shows we are hard-wired to find cake more appealing in the afternoon
July 15, 2016
Gemma Briggs, Open University
Research shows dangers of using hands-free cell phones while driving
April 28, 2016
David Rubin, Duke University
Slips of the lip stay all in the family
April 21, 2016
David Strayer, Utah University
How our mind rejuvenates itself
April 14, 2016
Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol
Consensus on consensus confirms 97 per cent of experts are convinced people are changing the climate
April 11, 2016
Evan Risko, University of Waterloo
A Wandering Mind: Creativity Unlocked or Zoning Out?
February 23, 2016
Katie Maras, University of Bath
Tailored autism training needed in police say Bath psychologists
Yana Weinstein, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Standardized testing is not the enemy

Are you a member?

SARMAC members get a lot for a little! Members pay discounted fees for conference attendance (in fact, the discounted registration fee pays for itself). Members also receive the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Join SARMAC today.