Bio

Biography

I began my current position as a Lecturer at the University of Dundee in September of 2015; I am also currently an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. 

Before joining Psychology at Dundee I worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh, where I had gained both my PhD and my undergraduate degree. In my research I have studied memory and cognition across a variety of populations including in younger adults, older adults, and in people with cognitive and/or with physical impairments. As part of what are often multidisciplinary teams, I have investigated temporary binding of visual and spatial information in working memory with Dr Louise Brown (University of Strathclyde), working memory and episodic memory with Professor Robert H. Logie (University of Edinburgh), and assessing cognition and behaviour in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with Professor Sharon Abrahams and Dr Thomas Bak (University of Edinburgh). A number of these collaborations are ongoing. Throughout my research positions I have always been involved in teaching (including teaching courses Introduction to Cognitive Psychology, and Memory), and during this time also completed a PGCert in Academic Practice; I am now a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

Teaching

- Level 1 Introductory Psychology 1 - Memory & Cognition; Introductory Psychology 2 - Attention, Learning, Memory

- Level 2 Biological Psychology; Ageing

- Level 3 Biological Psychology (module coordinator); Research Skills 3a - Practical 1

- Level 4 Dissertation supervisor

- MSc Practicum and/or dissertation supervisor 

- Undergraduate Learning and Teaching, Quality and Academic Standards lead for Psychology

Research

I have an over-arching interest in how we mentally represent the world around us; how we store, manipulate, update and retrieve that information – often apparently seamlessly – and how this changes with age, and with situation – for example, with reduced resources to process incoming information. My research and supervision topics include the often closely associated areas of autobiographical memory, event representation, visuo-spatial working memory, working memory capacity, memory and ageing, and multitasking, with a particular interest in conducting research relating to how memory operates ‘in the real world’.

  

 

For Level 4 students - illustrative dissertations I have advised or supervised:

Over the past few years there has been a lot of media attention, as well as research, about the impact of smartphones on our day-to-day lives. Much media attention has focussed on potential consequences of ’thoughtless use’ of devices that appear to otherwise provide so much. How does the research compare to the hype? A range of dissertations have looked at related topics:

  • Does taking photographs impair our memory for what we are recording? In a replication and extension study of the work of Henkel (2014) we looked at the apparently negative consequences to memory of taking pictures of objects, and the possibly positive effect of zooming-in when doing so.
  • There is evidence to suggest that while we may well forget something that we have ‘off-loaded’ (for example, written down), or purposely tried to forget, there may also be unintended positive consequences - such as being better able to remember a following piece of information. Following Storm and Stone (2014), a dissertation study sought to test whether observed effects extend to remembering and forgetting pictures.
  • While monitoring your dinner as it cooks, you pick up up your phone and continue reading a paper that you started earlier, before pausing to answer the latest in a long line of texts in a group chat that’s trying to arrange your next holiday trip. You might feel a sense of achievement at being ‘time-efficient’ - but are we doing ourselves a disservice when we attempt to multi-task? A dissertation looked at the consequences (positive and/or negative) of different types of multi-tasking.

Investigating the boundaries of episodic memories: when we recall an event from our lives - a particular journey to a given location, a specific friend’s birthday celebration last month, yesterday’s family dinner, and so on -  we can break that event down into smaller and smaller components; what patterns can be found in the way we do this, and how do these differ across different types of event? Do these components, or the structure of these components, change over time? 

  • A final year undergraduate dissertation sought to test the generalisability and stability of a previously derived structure to the boundaries of episodic memories. 

Publications

Brown, LA, Niven, EH, Logie, RH, Rhodes, S & Allen, RJ 2017,

'Visual feature binding in younger and older adults: encoding and suffix interference effects' Memory, vol 25, no. 2, pp. 261-275. DOI:
10.1080/09658211.2016.1156705

Research output: Contribution To Journal



Niven, E, Newton, J, Foley, J, Colville, S, Swingler, R, Chandran, S, Bak, TH & Abrahams, S 2015,

'Validation of the Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Screen (ECAS): a cognitive tool for motor disorders' Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, vol 16, no. 3-4, pp. 172-179. DOI:
10.3109/21678421.2015.1030430

Research output: Contribution To Journal



Wolters, MK, Niven, E, Runardotter, M, Gallo, F, Maus, H & Logie, RH 2015,

Personal photo preservation for the smartphone generation. in CHI EA '15: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, pp. 1549-1554, 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Seoul, Korea, Republic of, 18-23 April. DOI:
10.1145/2702613.2732793

Research output: Contribution To Book Anthology



Trawley, SL, Law, AS, Brown, LA, Niven, EH & Logie, RH 2014,

'Prospective memory in a virtual environment: beneficial effects of cue saliency' Journal of Cognitive Psychology, vol 26, no. 1, pp. 39-47. DOI:
10.1080/20445911.2013.852199

Research output: Contribution To Journal



Abrahams, S, Newton, J, Niven, E, Foley, J & Bak, TH 2014,

'Screening for cognition and behaviour changes in ALS' Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, vol 15, no. 1-2, pp. 9-14. DOI:
10.3109/21678421.2013.805784

Research output: Contribution To Journal



Wolters, MK, Niven, E & Logie, RH 2014,

The art of deleting snapshots. in CHI EA '14 : CHI'14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, pp. 2521-2526, 32nd Annual ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Toronto, Canada, 26-1 May. DOI:
10.1145/2559206.2581287

Research output: Contribution To Book Anthology



Allen, RJ, Brown, LA & Niven, E 2013,

Aging and visual feature binding in working memory. in H St Clair-Thompson (ed.), Working memory: developmental differences, component processes and improvement mechanisms. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Hauppauge, NY, pp. 83-96.

Research output: Contribution To Book Anthology



Borst, G, Niven, E & Logie, RH 2012,

'Visual mental image generation does not overlap with visual short-term memory: a dual-task interference study' Memory and Cognition, pp. 360-372. DOI:
10.3758/s13421-011-0151-7

Research output: Contribution To Journal



Logie, RH & Niven, EH 2012,

Working memory: an ensemble of functions in on-line cognition. in V Gyselinck & F Pazzaglia (eds), From mental imagery to spatial cognition and language: essays in honour of Michel Denis. Taylor & Francis, pp. 77-105. DOI:
10.4324/9780203078433

Research output: Contribution To Book Anthology