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Moravian College

Alex Agnor '10

Alex Agnor '10

2009 Soar Student

"Working with a former Moravian student on this project allowed me to see how a Moravian degree—and undergraduate research experience, in particular—can prepare a student for graduate school."

Hometown: Franklin, NJ

Major(s): Psychology

Project: “Retrieval-Induced Forgetting and Inter-Item Similarity: Inhibition versus Facilitation of Memories”

Faculty mentor: Sarah K. Johnson, assistant professor of psychology

Goal: Accessing memory can result in poorer memory for other, related information—a phenomenon known as retrieval-induced forgetting. The goal of this project was to use semantic-association tasks and lexical tasks to explore whether different combinations of shared attributes inhibit or facilitate memories. This area of research could apply to law, especially how people retrieve information they have seen or heard—an important aspect of eyewitness testimony.

What I learned: The topic helped me gain a better understanding of memory and the factors that influence it. I also learned all about the research process. Participating in research as an undergraduate greatly improves your position when you apply to graduate school. A large portion of the work for a SOAR project involves research and reading, both of which also are required by graduate school.

Future plans: My Honors project will deal with retrieval-induced forgetting and the misinformation effect—the susceptibility to be misled into remembering information never actually encountered, also known as false memories. After graduation, I plan to attend law school, where I will draw upon my knowledge of memory and cognitive processes gained through my studies in psychology. Psychology grants a perspective into the human psyche: the ways people think, act, and develop.