Dr Michaela Dewar

Psychology, School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University


Dr Dewar's research explores forgetting and memory consolidation in healthy young and elderly people as well as in patients with amnesia, including amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment / Alzheimer's Disease. She is particularly interested in the effect of behavioural/cognitive state on the consolidation of new memories: her research indicates that new memories are consolidated better when people rest wakefully immediately after near learning (minimal sensory input) than when they attend to other information immediately after new learning. Dr Dewar and colleagues have demonstrated in several studies that wakeful rest can be especially beneficial for patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment / mild Alzheimer's Disease, some of whom show remarkable improvements in memory retention under such conditions. This suggests that (i) amnesia is associated, at least partly, with excessive memory interference, and thus (ii) that there may be an opportunity for interventions that boost memory consolidation by minimising such interference.


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