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PNB Colloquium - Myra Fernandez - The surprising and powerful influence of drawing on memory



Dr. Myra Fernandes is aProfessor in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Psychology Department and is adjunctin the Research Institute of Aging, at the University of Waterloo. She holds aBSc degree from University of Waterloo, as well as Masters and PhD from Universityof Toronto. Her research program examines the cognitiveprocesses, and brain regions, mediating memory and language. She isparticularly interested in how these change as people age.


Date: Thursday March 8th, 2018 2:30pm-3:30pm

Title: The surprising and powerful influence ofdrawing on memory


The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’has reverberated through the decades, yet there is very little basic cognitiveresearch assessing the merit of drawing as a mnemonic strategy. In our recentresearch, we explored whether drawing to-be-learned information enhancedmemory, and found it to be a reliable, replicable means of boostingperformance. Specifically, we have shown this technique can be applied toenhance learning of individual words and pictures, as well as textbookdefinitions. In delineating the mechanism of action, we have shown that gainsare greater from drawing than other known mnemonic techniques such as semanticelaboration, visualization, writing, and even tracing to-be-rememberedinformation. We propose that drawing improves memory by promoting theintegration of elaborative, pictorial, and motor codes, facilitating creationof a context-rich representation. Importantly, the simplicity of this strategymeans it can be used by those with cognitive impairments to enhance memory,with preliminary findings suggesting measureable gains in performance in bothnormal aging and patients with dementia.

Host: Tammy Rosner

Location information

1280 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada

Hamilton L8S 4L8
1280 Main Street West

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1