A.B., Harvard College; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Margaret KeaneDenise Kellen '68 Professor in the Health Sciences; Professor of Psychology
Psychology Department chair; Interested in exploring the cognitive and neural bases of human memory capacities; teach courses in memory, cognition, and neuropsychology.
My course offerings contribute to the curriculum in three different departments or programs: Psychology, Neuroscience, and Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences. In various ways, my courses explore questions about the mind and the brain: how we perceive, think, speak, understand, and remember; what sort of mental representations and processes govern these cognitive abilities; and how these representations and processes are realized in the brain.
The aim of my research program is to understand the functional and neural bases of distinct forms of human memory. I address these questions by examining patterns of spared and impaired memory function in individuals who are amnesic as a result of brain damage, and by examining the effects of experimental manipulations on memory performance in healthy research participants. I am particularly interested in memory processes that operate outside of conscious awareness, and that may be fully functional despite an absence of conscious memory for recent events and experiences. My work also explores interactions between episodic and semantic memory, the role of memory in envisioning the future, and the relationship between long-term memory and working memory.
Collaborating with students on research projects has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work at Wellesley. Students who work with me on independent research projects or senior honors theses typically conduct experiments with Wellesley undergraduates as research participants. These experiments examine how memory performance can be influenced by a variety of experimental manipulations; the results elucidate the cognitive mechanisms that characterize memory capacities subserved by distinct brain areas.
I am Associate Director of the Memory Disorders Research Center at the Boston University School of Medicine and V.A. Boston Healthcare System. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with colleagues specializing in neurology, clinical neuropsychology, and cognitive neuroscience, with all of whom I share an interest in unraveling the mysteries of mind, brain, and memory.