Bio

I am a lecturer in cognitive psychology at the University of Salford where I am also a member of the visual cognition research group.

I was previously a Leverhulme Research Fellow at Aston University Birmingham, funded by the Leverhulme trust (Early Career Fellowship) and Aston university.

I completed my BSc in Psychology (2008-2011) and my MSc in Psychological research (2011-2012) at Bangor University in Wales. I followed this by working as an RA at Bangor University and then completed my PhD at The University of Aberdeen in Scotland (2013-2017).

My research interests lie in attention, visual working memory and long term memory. I have a keen interest in how the social factor of joint attention (the mutual focus of two individuals on the same object or event), as signalled through eye gaze, shapes perception and memory of events.

For more on my research please see my Research Gate, OSF and Google Scholar pages.

email: s.e.a.gregory@salford.ac.uk

twitter: @DrSamGregory

Current research

My research investigates the idea that when an experience is shared, the presence of the other person enriches it. This enrichment can result in measurable changes to event processing (Shteynberg, 2017). This includes speeding up reaction to events, (Frischen, et al, 2007), changing item likeability (Bayliss,et al, 2006), as well as growing evidence of changes in memory for objects in both long term memory (Dodd, et al, 2012) and working memory (Gregory & Jackson, 2017; Gregory and Jackson 2018). Research conducted to date has been key in providing evidence of a social effect on memory, yet the nature and mechanism of this effect remains unclear. I aim to advance understanding of how and when social contexts enrich memories using a working memory paradigm with complex objects in realistic social environments. I use virtual reality (VR) to present controlled but realistic scenarios in which participants memory for objects will be tested while a virtual human shares, or does not share their attention to these objects. In order to understand the social nature of any effects, a non social cue in the form of a directed ‘stick’, which points towards or away from crucial items, is also used. Neural responses are collected in order to investigate the influence of sharing attention on neural frequencies that relate to attention (alpha) and memory (theta) in a social context (e.g. Bögels, et al, 2015).

The Avatars were created using the defaults in Adobe Fuse (discontinued software), given a bone structure to allow animation and put into a seated position in Mixamo, and finally animated to make head movements using Unity, where the experiment was also created using the Unity experimental framework (UXF). All software is available to use for free for non commercial purposes.

Please see my OSF page for recent study registrations, preprints, data and stimuli.


An example trial from the task is shown below

Other research

My previous post doc position involved working on a multi site project investigating systematic discrepancies in students’ memory for assignment feedback, funded by the Leverhulme trust. The research explored the factors that are required for feedback to stick in memory, and if there are specific biases in memory for feedback that can be identified and overcome.

An open access copy of our findings can be found by following this link: tinyurl.com/ForgottenFeedback

Please keep an eye out for further output from this work.