Prof. Marcia K. Johnson


Welcome to the MEMlab website

Some of the topics of interest to the Memory and Cognition Lab (MEMlab) are described below, with links to sample publications (click on a topic to expand it). A full list of lab publications on these and other topics can be found by clicking on the publications link above.

A component process analysis of memory and cognition

What are the basic “processing units” of cognition and memory? How are these component processes organized into subsystems and combined within and across subsystems? How are they instantiated in brain activity?

Sample publications

Johnson, M.K., & Hirst, W. (1993). MEM: Memory subsystems as processes. In A.F. Collins, S.E. Gathercole, M.A. Conway, & P.E. Morris (Eds.), Theories of Memory (pp. 241-286). East Sussex, England: Erlbaum

Johnson, M.K., Raye, C.L., Mitchell, K.J., Greene, E.J., Cunningham, W.A., & Sanislow, C.A. (2005). Using fMRI to investigate a component process of reflection: Prefrontal correlates of refreshing a just-activated representation. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 339-361. 

Johnson, M.R., & Johnson, M.K. (2009). Top-down enhancement and suppression of activity in category-selective extrastriate cortex from an act of reflective attention.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 2320–2327

Chun, M.M. & Johnson, M.K. (2011). Memory: Enduring traces of perceptual and reflective attention. Neuron, 72, 520-535. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.026 

Johnson, M. R., & Johnson, M. K. (2014). Decoding individual natural scene representations during perception and imagery.  Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 59. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00059 

Reality monitoring/source monitoring

How are individual features of experience (e.g., color, shape, location) bound together to create complex memories? How are the phenomenal representations of perception and thought (imagination, dreams, fantasies) alike and how are they different? How are they discriminated, and why are they sometimes confused?  More generally, what is the relation between our attributions about the sources of memories, knowledge, and beliefs, and their actual origins?

Sample publications

Johnson, M.K., Hashtroudi, S., & Lindsay, D.S. (1993). Source monitoring. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 3-28. 

Johnson, M.K.  (2006).  Memory and reality.  American Psychologist, 61, 760-771. 

Mitchell, K.J., & Johnson, M.K. (2009). Source monitoring 15 years later: What have we learned from fMRI about the neural mechanisms of source memory? Psychological Bulletin, 135, 638-677. 

Johnson, M.K., Raye, C.L., Mitchell, K.J., & Ankudowich, E. (2011). The cognitive neuroscience of true and false memories. In Belli, R.F. (Ed.), True and false recovered memories: Toward a reconciliation of the debate. Vol. 58: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (pp. 15-52). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-1195-6_2 

Sugimori, E., Mitchell, K.J., Raye, C.L., Greene, E.J., & Johnson, M.K. (2014). Brain mechanisms underlying reality monitoring for heard and imagined words. Psychological Science, 25, 403-413. doi:10.1177/0956797613505776 

The relation between emotion and cognition

How does emotion influence attention and memory and vice/versa?  What is the role of emotion in memory distortions?  What is the difference between emotion as a feature of memory vs. as an instigator of component processes of cognition?

Sample publications

Johnson, M.K., & Multhaup, K.S. (1992).  Emotion and MEM.  In S.-A. Christianson (Ed.), The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Current Research and Theory (pp. 33-66).  Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Associates

Johnson, M.K., Nolde, S.F., & De Leonardis, D.M. (1996).  Emotional focus and source monitoring.  Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 135-156. 

Mather, M., Mitchell, K.J., Raye, C.L., Novak, D.L., Greene, E.J., & Johnson, M.K. (2006). Emotional arousal can impair feature binding in working memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 614-625. 

Cunningham, W.A., Raye, C.L., & Johnson, M.K. (2004). Implicit and explicit evaluation: fMRI correlates of valence, emotional intensity, and control in the processing of attitudes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 1717-1729. 

Johnson, M.K., Mitchell, K.J., Raye, C.L., McGuire, J.T., & Sanislow, C.A. (2006). Mental rubbernecking to negative information depends on task context. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 614-618. 

The “self” in cognition

Who is doing the perceiving and reflecting? How is the self represented, extended and reflected upon?  How do we go about differentiating the self as the experiencer, the originator (agent), and a target (feature) of memories?

Sample publications

Johnson, M. K., & Reeder, J. A. (1997).  Consciousness as meta-processing.  In J.D. Cohen & J. W. Schooler (Eds.), Scientific approaches to consciousness (pp. 261-293).  Mahwah, NJ:  Erlbaum

Johnson, M.K., Raye, C.L., Mitchell, K.J., Touryan, S.R., Greene, E.J., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S.  (2006).  Dissociating medial frontal and posterior cingulate activity during self-reflection.  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1, 56-64. 

Johnson, M.K., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Mitchell, K.J., & Levin, Y. (2009). Medial cortex activity, self-reflection, and depression. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 4, 313-327. 

Kim, K. & Johnson, M.K. (2010). Extended self: Medial prefrontal activity during transient association of self and objects. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 199-207. doi:10.1093/scan/nsq096 

Kim, K., & Johnson, M.K. (2013). Extended self: Spontaneous activation of medial prefrontal cortex by objects that are “mine.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Published online 20 May 2013. doi:10.1093/scan/nst082 

Changes in cognition associated with aging

Research into the questions above has provided frameworks and hypotheses for investigating changes in cognition associated with aging, and studying such changes can, in turn, challenge and refine our understanding of cognition and memory.

Sample publications

Hashtroudi, S., Johnson, M.K., Vnek, N., & Ferguson, S.A. (1994). Aging and the effects of affective and factual focus on source monitoring and recall. Psychology and Aging, 9, 160-170. 

Chalfonte, B.L., & Johnson, M.K. (1996). Feature memory and binding in young and older adults. Memory & Cognition, 24, 403-416. 

Henkel, L.A., Johnson, M.K., and De Leonardis, D.M. (1998).  Aging and source monitoring: cognitive processes and neuropsychological correlates.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 127, 251-268. 

Mather, M., Johnson, M.K., & De Leonardis, D.M. (1999). Stereotype reliance in source monitoring: Age differences and neuropsychological test correlates. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 16, 437-458. 

Mitchell, K.J., Johnson, M.K., Raye, C.L., & D’Esposito, M. (2000). fMRI evidence of age-related hippocampal dysfunction in feature binding in working memory. Cognitive Brain Research, 10, 197-206. 

Johnson, M.K., Mitchell, K.J., Raye, C.L., & Greene, E.J. (2004). An age-related deficit in prefrontal cortical function associated with refreshing information. Psychological Science, 15, 127-132. 

Higgins, J.A. & Johnson, M.K. (2009).  The consequences of refreshing for access to non-selected items in young and older adults.  Memory & Cognition, 37, 164-174. 

Mitchell, K.J., Johnson, M.R., Higgins, J.A., & Johnson, M.K. (2010). Age differences in brain activity during perceptual vs reflective attention. NeuroReport, 21, 293-297. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833730d6 

Ebner, N.C., Johnson, M.R., Rieckmann, A., Durbin, K.A., Johnson, M.K., & Fischer, H. (2013). Processing own-age vs. other-age faces: Neuro-behavioral correlates and effects of emotion. NeuroImage, 78, 363-371. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.029 

Mitchell, K.J., Ankudowich, E., Durbin, K.A., Greene, E.J., & Johnson, M.K. (2013). Age-related differences in agenda-driven monitoring of format and task information. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2427-2441. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.012