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Department of Psychological Sciences

Heather Bailey, Ph.D.

Heather Bailey

Contact Information

Office: BH 414

E-mail: hbailey@ksu.edu

Vita (pdf)

Google Scholar Profile

Memory & Aging Laboratory

Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity (CNAP)


Research Interests

I received my MS in Experimental Psychology from Wake Forest University in 2005 and my PhD in Cognitive Psychology at Kent State University in 2009. After graduate school, I spent 4 years as a post-doctoral researcher at Washington University St. Louis, and I recently joined the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kansas State University in 2013.

At the highest level, I am interested in memory systems and how they change with age. My three main lines of research are related to individual differences and age-related differences in working memory. The first line involves evaluating the efficacy of different strategies that people use to help improve their memory. For instance, when memorizing a grocery list, why do some people recite the list repeatedly and others organize the items according to the layout of the grocery store (i.e., produce, meat, dairy)? And when do certain strategies benefit us the most? In another line of work, I am interested in why performance on working memory tasks predicts how someone will perform on other important cognitive tests such as an IQ test or the SAT. In a third line of research, I have studied how individuals effectively segment, or chunk, incoming information and update their working memory representations accordingly. Findings have shown that an individual’s ability to segment information at encoding predicts how well they are able to remember it at a later time.

Recently, we have been awarded NIH funding to establish a new COBRE research center on Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity (C-NAP). For more information on this center, visit:  www.k-state/cnap/

My lab's C-NAP project evaluates how older adults are able to leverage their intact semantic knowledge to offset any age-related declines in episodic memory.  In other words, can older adults use their knowledge about familiar events to help them perceive and encode information in novel events?  In conducting this research, we will combine experimental and neuroscience techniques including behavioral and psychometric testing, eye-tracking and neuroimaging (fMRI). 

Student Involvement
I am accepting graduate students for Fall 2018


Graduate students who are interested in working with me can either get involved with one of my ongoing research projects or propose their own topic of research, depending on their level of experience and motivation. Graduate students will also gain valuable experience in statistical analyses, various forms of methodology, professional development and supervising undergraduate research assistants in the lab. Graduate students also have the opportunity to complete a teaching apprenticeship, a program that is unique to Kansas State. Support for graduate students comes from grant money when available, or departmental graduate teaching assistantships. Students who contribute significantly to our research will have ample opportunity to co-author publications and conference presentations. Graduate students in our department also have the unique opportunity to benefit from the C-NAP (center on plasticity) in terms of data management, analysis and visualization; skills training (e.g., EEG, eye-tracking, MATlab programming); potential funding for pilot projects; mini-conferences and brownbags; collaborative work; and much more.

As an undergraduate research assistant, you would learn about all aspects of experimental design and data collection. This includes formulating and refining research questions, programming experiments, collecting data with young and/or older adults, learning statistics to analyze data, and presenting your work in the department, across campus, and even at regional conferences. Getting involved in each step of the research process provides great experience when applying for graduate school and it also gives you insight into the life of a graduate student. Undergraduate students who are interested in working in my lab can apply to be a PSYCH 599 research assistant. Those interested in working with me as a graduate student can contact me via email hbailey@ksu.edu.

Recent Grant Funding

National Institute of Health: “Situation model updating in young and older adults” (PI), $170,128, 2011-2014.

Wichita State University and Kansas State University, COBRE project development grant: “Transfer effects of perceptual learning on driving-related cognitive tasks”, $12,100, 2013.

Kansas State University, University Small Research Grant, “Plasticity in Aging and Memory for Everyday Events”, $4000, 2014.

Selected Publications

Flores, S., Bailey, H., Eisenberg, M. L., & Zacks, J. M. (in press). Event segmentation improves event memory up to one month later. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. {pdf

Bailey, H., Kurby, C. A., Sargent, J. Q., & Zacks, J. M. (in press). Attentional focus affects how events are segmented and updated in narrative text.  Memory & Cognition. {pdf}

Bailey, H., & Zacks, J. M. (2015). Situation model updating in young and older adults: Global vs. incremental mechanisms. Psychology and Aging 30, 232-244. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2014). Does strategy training reduce age-related deficits in working memory? Gerontology, 60, 346-356. {pdf}

Bailey, H.,Kurby, C. A., Giovannetti, T., & Zacks, J. M. (2013). Action perception predicts action performance. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2294-2304. {pdf}

Sargent, J. Q., Zacks, J. M., Hambrick, D. Z., Zacks, R. T., Kurby, C. A., Bailey, H., Eisenberg, M. L., & Beck, T. M. (2013). Event segmentation ability uniquely predicts memory across the lifespan. Cognition, 129, 241-255. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Zacks, J. M., Hambrick, D. Z., Zacks, R. T., Head, D., Kurby, C. A., & Sargent, J. Q. (in press). Medial temporal lobe volume predicts elders’ everyday memory. Psychological Science, 24, 1113-1122. {pdf}

Bailey, H. (2012). Computer-Paced versus Experimenter-Paced Working Memory Span Tasks: Are They Equally Reliable and Valid? Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 875-881. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Kane, M. J. (2011). Contribution of strategy use to performance on complex and simple span tasks. Memory & Cognition, 39, 447-461. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2010). Metacognitive training at home: Does it improve older adults’ learning? Gerontology, 56, 414-420. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (2009). Does differential strategy use account for age-related differences in working-memory performance? Psychology & Aging, 24, 82-92. {pdf}

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Kane, M. J. (2008). Why does working memory span predict complex cognition? Testing the strategy-affordance hypothesis. Memory & Cognition, 36, 1383-1390. {pdf}