Steve Schwering

Graduate Student

 B. A. in Psychology and English – The College of New Jersey
618 Psychology Building

Research Interests

I am primarily interested in the intersections of language and memory. How do our linguistic experiences shape our ability to produce and comprehend language? Furthermore, how do these experiences shape the structure of our memories? One of the most interesting points of intersection between language and memory is syntax. When planning an utterance, we must weigh alternative syntactic structures to convey the meaning, or semantics, of the utterance. Therefore, what syntactic choices do we make when constructing meaning, and how do these choices reflect underlying memory demands? Why do we select one syntactic structure over another, and how does this effect our comprehension of the utterance? I am especially interested in the representations of syntax as it relates to serial order processing and how syntax is produced from phonological and semantic demands of an utterance.

Past Research

Working with Tamra Bireta, I have looked at two major lines of research in the past: the isolation effect as it relates to cognitive aging and feature binding. My first research project studied the isolation effect, or the improved recall of a distinct item in a list of similar items. Particularly, we studied the root of discrepant findings in the isolation effect literature regarding the presence of the isolation effect in older adults. We found that older adults suffered from a specific deficit in processing distinct items related to serial order processing. My second line of research studied feature binding of intrinsic and extrinsic feature pairs in working memory. We found no effect of feature relationships on participants’ abilities to bind shape and color features.

Personal Interests

I love reading. I began my higher education as an English major, and I would be happy to talk about a wide range of books. I would also love your book suggestions. I try to go rock climbing, though my schedule says otherwise, and I enjoy cooking quiches.

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