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Cognitive psychology

Semantic Spaces

The most important source of information of other states of mind is the semantic content of language. However, previous quantitative research has largely ignored this information possibly because it is difficult to quantify. I have been fascinated by the possibility quantifying semantics by computational modeling of human learning of semantic. By applying these models to large text corpora, it is possible to quantify the semantic content of all words in a language. Currently I am applying this method to a large number of projects including: eyewitness memory, evaluation and evolution of social groups, psychotherapy, semantic representation in the brain, views of god, etc. See also the spin-off company Saplo.com and the Scientific Semantic software below.

Computational modeling of memory

The brain consists of a large number of cells, or processing units, which together forms cognitive functioning as memory and consciousness. My research has focused on computational models aimed at understanding memory and cognition in the brain. Several of these models are based on neural network theories. I have published computational models on forgetting, the mirror effect, reaction times, serial position effect, frequency effects, successive tests, etc related to episodic and semantic memory.

Noise improves cognitive performance

Irrelevant stimuli is typically seen as distractive and removes attention from the relevant task. We have shown that irrelevant stimuli, in form of auditative noise, can actually improve cognitive performance, and that this effect is particular strong for people with poor attentive skills.

Choice blindness

That people make every-day choice based on accessible intentions is often taken for granted, however, our research indicates that this may not be the case. We let subject choice between which of two faces they found most attractive, and immediately asked they to motivate their choice. Though “magical” trick we replaced the face to that they were actually given the faces they did not choose. Subjects failed to detect this mismatch between their own choice and the outcome of their choose, and were willing to make elaborated motivations of their motivations. These results questions whether people have access to their underlying reason for their choices.

Head of division

Sverker Sikström
Professor
Department of Psychology


+46 46 222 87 55

Sverker.Sikstrom [at] psy.lu.se

Department of Psychology
Box 213
SE-221 00 Lund
Sweden

Phone: +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)

webb [at] psy.lu.se