Psychology professor Ben Storm featured in the New York Times

July 03, 2017

Associate professor of psychology Benjamin Storm (Photo by Melissa De Witte)
Associate professor of psychology Ben Storm was quoted in the New York Times' Sunday Review section in an article entitled, "Forgot Where You Parked? Good."
The article addresses the potential benefits of forgetting. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Studies show that forgetting can even promote better reasoning. In a study released in 2011, a group of psychologists gave some subjects a problem-solving exam. Known as the Remote Associates Test, it requires a subject to read three words (like “playing,” “credit” and “report”) and then come up with a word that would link all three ideas (“card”).

The researchers added a wrinkle to the test, and they provided the subjects with some “misleading” training, giving the subjects the wrong cues before they took the exam. The results showed that people had to push the misleading association out of their minds to solve the problem. “Creative cognition,” the authors wrote, “may rely not only on one’s ability to remember but also on one’s ability to forget.”

Benjamin Storm, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, led the 2011 study, and he now takes the idea of forgetting pretty seriously. If Professor Storm writes a paper, he’ll start it early so that he has time to revisit his writing. Similarly, he will read important articles twice with a long break in between so that he gains more from the text.

Storm researches human memory, with a special focus on the causes and consequences of forgetting. At his UCSC Memory Lab, he and his team explore the role of forgetting in resolving competition during retrieval, overcoming fixation in thinking and problem solving, updating autobiographical memory, and facilitating new learning.

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