Coffee Chat with Anthony Wagner

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Psychology professor Anthony Wagner chatted with us over coffee last Friday. Professor Wagner is the PI of the Stanford Memory Laboratory and teaches several courses on memory, including Psych 45: Learning and Memory. 

Wagner discussed how deciding and changing one's focus in grad school relates to the idea of "exploration vs exploitation," and how he decided research in memory satisfied his curiosity early in his career. He also discussed the technology he uses in his research, which includes imaging techniques such as fMRI and computational approaches such as machine learning. He discussed how neuroscience can be applied in legal systems, such as being an expert witness in court cases. 

When asked for tips on improving memory, professor Wagner emphasized the importance of recall and practice. Often, the pressures of school can led to us cramming for exams, which leads to good short term performance. However, spaced repetition is key for long-term retention. Wagner hoped that psychologists and educators could work together to improve students' learning and incorporating techniques like spaced repetition into schools. 

Written by Lucy Li.