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Aimee Surprenant

B.A. NYU, M.S., Ph.D. Yale

Professor

 
Office: SN3072
Phone: (709) 864-4786
Email: asurpren@mun.ca
 
Affiliations: Cognition, Developmental

 

Research Interests

 

Aimee Surprenant

 

 
My main area of research explores the intersection of auditory perception and memory. A long-standing assumption of both perception and memory researchers has been that, if a person can correctly identify a stimulus then any memory failures must be due to higher-level cognitive factors. Thus, distortion of the signal by noise, filtering, vision or hearing loss should have no direct effect on the comprehension of and memory for those materials. However, we find that there is a link between auditory speech processing and the amount of disruption that irrelevant background noise causes in memory tasks for auditory as well as visual to-be-remembered stimuli. Contrary to the standard view, it seems that noise and distortion interfere with memory for those sounds, even at levels that do not interfere with identification. The practical impact of this finding is that listeners with only mild hearing loss may have a peripheral or sensory reason for reduced cognitive functioning. This hypothesis has implications for areas like cognitive aging that have concentrated on finding higher-level, cognitive mechanisms that are impaired with age. My work suggests that even when identification is unimpaired, mild hearing loss can have an effect on behavior. Along with the practical implications of this work, two different theoretical explanations of this basic effect, degradation in a sensory representation and reduced capacity, are both found to contribute substantially to this effect.

Recent Publication

Carroll, L. M., Jalbert, A., Penney, A. M., Neath, I., Surprenant, A. M., & Tehan, G. (in press). Evidence for proactive interference in the focus of attention of working memory. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. [Download]

 

Jalbert, A., Neath, I., Bireta, T. J., & Surprenant, A. M. (in press). When does length cause the word length effect? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. [Download]

 

Ralph, A., Walters, J. N., Stevens, A., Fitzgerald, K. J., Tehan, G., Surprenant, A. M., Neath, I., & Turcotte, J. (in press). Immunity to proactive interference is not a property of the focus of attention in working memory. Memory & Cognition. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M., Bireta, T. J., Brown, M. A., Jalbert, A., Tehan, G., & Neath, I. (in press). Backward recall and the word length effect. American Journal of Psychology. [Download]

 

Bireta, T. J., Fry, S. E., Jalbert, A., Neath, I., Surprenant, A. M., Tehan, G., & Tolan, G. A. (2010). Backward serial recall and benchmark effects of working memory. Memory & Cognition, 38, 279-291. [Download]

 

Guérard, K., Neath, I., Surprenant, A. M., & Tremblay, S. (2010). Distinctiveness in spatial memory for spatial information. Memory & Cognition, 38, 83-91. [Download]

 

Neath, I., Guérard, K., Jalbert, A., Bireta, T. J., & Surprenant, A. M. (2009). Irrelevant speech effects and statistical learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 1551-1559. [Download]

 

Guérard, K., Jalbert, A., Neath, I., Surprenant, A. M., & Bireta, T. J. (2009). Irrelevant tapping and the acoustic confusion effect: The effect of spatial complexity. Experimental Psychology, 56, 367-374. [Download]

 

Bireta, T. J., Surprenant, A. M., & Neath, I. (2008). Age-related differences in the von Restorff isolation effect. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 345-352. [Download]

 

Beaman, C. P., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2008). Modeling means and distributions of immediate memory effects: No strategies needed? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 219-229. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M., Neath, I., Bireta, T. J., & Allbritton, D. A. (2008). Directly assessing the relationship between irrelevant speech and irrelevant tapping. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue Canadienne de Psychologie Expérimentale, 62, 141-149. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M. (2007). Effects of noise on identification and serial recall of nonsense syllables in older and younger adults. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 14, 126-143. [Download]

 

Farley, L. A., Neath, I., Allbritton, D. W., & Surprenant, A. M. (2007). Irrelevant speech effects and sequence learning. Memory & Cognition, 35, 156-165. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M., Neath, I., & Brown, G. D. A. (2006). Modeling the effects of age-related differences in immediate memory using SIMPLE. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 572-586. [Download]

 

Bireta, T. J., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2006). The syllable based word length effect and stimulus set specificity. Psychological Bulletin & Review, 13, 434-438. [Download]

 

Hulme, C., Neath, I., Stuart, G., Shostak, L., Surprenant, A. M., & Brown, G. D. A. (2006). The distinctiveness of the word-length effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 586-594. [Download]

 

Books

 

Surprenant, A. M., & Neath, I. (2009). Principles of memory. New York: Psychology Press. [Overview]

 

Surprenant, A. M., Francis, G., & Neath, I. (2005). CogLab Reader. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

 

Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2003). Human Memory, Second Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

 

Roediger, H. L. III, Nairne, J. S., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (Eds.) (2001). The nature of remembering: Essays in honor of Robert G. Crowder. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

 

Book Chapters

 

Surprenant, A. M., & Neath, I. (2009). The 9 lives of short-term memory. In A. Thorn & M. Page (Eds.), Interactions between short-term and long-term memory in the verbal domain (pp. 16-43). Hove, UK: Psychology Press. [Download]

 

Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2008). Short- vs. long-term memory. In A. S. Benjamin, J. S. de Belle, B. Etnyre, & T. Polk (Eds.), Human learning: Biology, brain, and neuroscience (pp. 21-31). Holland: Elsevier. [Download]

 

Beaman, C. P., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2007). Phonological similarity effects without a phonological store: An individual differences model. Proceedings of the Twenty Ninth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 89-94). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M., & Neath, I. (2007). Cognitive aging. In J. M. Wilmouth, and K. F. Ferraro, (Eds.), Gerontology: Perspectives and issues, 3rd Edition, pp. 89-109. New York: Springer Publishing Company. [Download]

 

Surprenant, A. M., Bireta, T. J., & Farley, L. A. (2007). A brief history of memory and aging. In J. S. Nairne (Ed.), The foundations of remembering: Essays in honor of Henry L. Roediger, III, pp. 107-123. Hove, UK: Psychology Press. [Download]

 

Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2007). Accounting for age-related differences in working memory using the feature model. In N. Osaka, R. H. Logie, and M. D’Esposito (Eds.), The cognitive neuroscience of working memory: Behavioural and neural correlates, pp. 165-180. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Download]

 

Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2005). Mechanisms of memory. In K. Lamberts & R. L. Goldstone (Eds.), Handbook of cognition, pp. 221-238. London: Sage. [Download]

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