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All new lab members should review the Lab Manual in detail

About Us

The Human Cognition and Memory Lab is a research group at SUNY Geneseo run by Dr. Jason Ozubko. Our lab investigates episodic, semantic, and spatial memory. We utilize a variety of techniques and approaches from traditional recognition memory studies up to virtual navigation paradigms.

If you have any questions or inquiries about our lab group please contact Jason Ozubko at

To see past lab members view our lab alumni page.

In the News

Current Projects

Using Virtual Reality to Form Mental Maps

This NIH-supported study utilizes a virtual environment formed using Google StreetView data. Participants "walk" through the virtual environment and learn a series of intersecting routes. Two alternative methods of study are used, each "targeting" a different areas of the brain that store spatial information. This study hopes to advance our understanding of how mental maps and spatial memories develop over time, with potential application to older adults in subsequent research.

Spatial Reconstruction in Virtual Reality

In this experiment, participants will experience a series of virtual rooms through an immersive virtual reality headset (i.e., an Oculus rift). With an Oculus Rift headset on and a 360 degree photo loaded, participants will feel like they are standing in a scene somewhere and have the ability to look freely in all directions around them. This experiment consists of a series of trials aimed to test participants' abilities to quickly learn new scenes and determine their relative orientation in those scenes. The goal is to better understand how scenes are reconstructed in the mind's eye during memory retrieval.

The Dynamics of Forgetting for Recollected and Familiar Memories

Memories can be divided into two types. Recollection refers to the ability to mentally reconstruct the past and re-experience it in your mind's eye. Familiarity refers to a sense of knowing or acquaintance. In an ongoing series of experiments, we are investigating the long-term properties of these two kinds of memories, and specifically examining forgetting. Some of recent work suggests that recollected memories may be more resistant to interference than familiarity-based memories, and recollected memories may benefit from reminders or be less sensitive to semantic coherence.

The Impact of Active Encodings – The Production Effect

A simple yet reliable way to enhance memorability is to actively engage with the materials you're trying to encode. One specific instance of this is the production effect--the finding that reading some words aloud and others silently leads to better memory for the words read aloud. We are investigating a number of characteristics of this effect, including how exactly production changes memory, why it seems to be so dominant when compared to other, seemingly comparable active encodings, where it can override poor attentional states at encoding, and how the clarity of production influences subsequent memory. Throughout  all these studies, a common conclusion we have drawn is that production is a remarkably simple yet remarkably effective means of encoding verbal information.

The Team

Dr. Jason Ozubko

Dr. Ozubko is the principal investigator of the lab. His primary research interest is in that of human memory, including topics such as episodic memory, spatial memory, recollection and familiarity, forgetting, computational models of memory, and the neuropsychological basis of memory. He has conducted numerous studies on these topics and developed research software suites to study human spatial memory.

Nancy Hoffman

Nancy is a research assistant and a junior psychology major and human development minor. She is new to the lab and will be assisting a current project. She plans to study clinical psychology in graduate school.

Brooke Demetri

Brooke has been a research assistant since her freshman year. She is currently a junior neuroscience major in the Edgar Fellows College Honors Program. Brooke is working on the Using Virtual Reality to form Mental Maps project. After graduation, Brooke plans to apply to Ph.D programs in the Neuroscience field.

Kayla Carlin

Kayla is a research assistant and a junior psychology major. She is also working on a project regarding the production effect. Kayla hopes to have a future career doing research in cognitive development or psychiatric epidemiology. 

Torie Wiley

Torie is a junior and has been a research assistant in the lab for two semesters. She is a psychology major with specific interests in biological and cognitive psych

Emily Strayhorn

Emily is a research assistant and a senior psychology major. She is working on research that investigates the speed with which memory fidelity develops during memory retrieval.

Brendan Hines

Brendan is a senior and has been a research assistant since his sophomore year. He is a neuroscience major with an honors minor. After graduation, Brendan is interested in applying to medical school to become a surgeon or psychiatrist. Brendan held a Dean Johnston Student Research Assistantship in the lab in the Fall of 2019.

Ezekiah Bacchus

Ezekiah is a research assistant and junior psychology major. He is new to the lab, but eager to dive into the experience. Ezekiah is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, with a specific interest in Oncology.

Lucia Verrelli

Lucia is a new research assistant and a sophomore biology and psychology double major. She hopes to become a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist in the future.

Sophia Phillips

Sophia is a senior psychology major with a cognitive science minor, and has been an active research assistant since her sophomore year. Her passions for research led her to assist in various studies in the Human Cognition and Memory Laboratory investigating the production effect and distinctiveness and forgetting. Sophia was recently awarded a Dean Johnson Student Research Assistantship in recognition of her talent and involvement in research. After graduation Sophia is interested in continuing with psychology and neuroscience research and pursuing a major in public health. 

Elsie Martin

(coming soon)

Jonathan McCart

(coming soon)

Kaitlyn Bertleff

(coming soon)

Harry Schwab

(coming soon)

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