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Peter F. Delaney, Ph.D.

Associate ProfessorDr. Delaney

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychology
296 Eberhart Building
PO Box 26170
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC  27402-6170

Telephone:   (336) 256-0010
Fax:  (336) 334-5066
About the Cognition, Learning & Memory
(CLAM) Laboratory
     Our lab is a cognitive psychology lab that is mostly focused on basic research in human memory.  Most of this work falls into three broad categories:

    1. Directed Forgetting and Daydream-Induced Forgetting:  We collaborate a lot with the Sahakyan Lab in studying how people forget things on purpose, and how daydreaming can make you forget things.  With Sahakyan, I developed the "two-factor" theory of directed forgetting.  We are currently interested in why some things are easier to forget than others, why some ways of forgetting are more effective than others, and why some people are more apt to forget than others.

    2. Spacing and Testing:  Often in collaboration with our Dutch colleague Peter Verkoeijen, we investigate when and why there are benefits to spaced practice and to testing memory.  Our lab discovered that what strategy people use to study determines whether spacing effects occur, and wrote a major review of the spacing literature.  We are currently investigating boundary conditions on the testing effect, reasons why testing and spacing effects occur (or don't), and when the testing effect happens right away and when it takes time to emerge.

    3. The Recency-to-Primacy (R2P) Shift:  Everyone knows what the serial position curve usually looks like:  there is primacy and there is recency.  However, these curves change depending on the strategy people use to study, and also change as time passes.  We recently showed that the shift from recency to primacy is much larger than people thought, at least under some circumstances.  Primacy effects sometimes occur for reasons other than the "known" rehearsal-based reason.

     However, like most UNCG psychology laboratories, we investigate a lot of other things, too.  For example, Dr. Delaney is part of collaborative interdisciplinary applied research teams that examine how the blind use computer systems, and that test software that teaches biology students to identify plants.  We also collaborate with psychology faculty from many areas on questions of interest.

Some Recent Publications

Sahakyan, L., Delaney, P. F., Foster, N. L., & Abushanab, B. (2013).  List-method directed forgetting in cognitive and clinical research:  A theoretical and methodological review.  Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 56, 131-189.

Delaney, P. F., Spirgel, A. S., & Toppino, T. C. (2012).  A deeper analysis of the spacing effect after "deep" encoding.  Memory & Cognition, 40, 1003-1015.

Delaney, P. F., Sahakyan, L., Kelley, C. M., & Zimmerman, C. (2010).  Remembering to forget:  The amnesic effect of daydreams.  Psychological Science, 21, 1036-1042.

Delaney, P. F., Verkoeijen, P. P. J. L., & Spirgel, A. S. (2010).  Spacing and testing effects: A deeply critical, lengthy, and at times discursive review of the literature.  Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 53, 63-147.

Sahakyan, L., & Delaney, P. F. (2010).  Item-specific encoding produces an additional benefit of directed forgetting: Evidence from intrusion errors.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 36, 1346-1354.

Delaney, P. F., & Verkoeijen, P. P. J. L. (2009).  Rehearsal strategies can enlarge or diminish the spacing effect: Pure versus mixed lists and encoding strategy.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 35, 1148-1161.