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Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys
  – Emeritus Professor

Picture of 'Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys'
Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys
Michael arrived at UQ as a lecturer at the end of 1979. He had previously served as an assistant professor at the Universities of British Columbia and Northwestern. He was made a professor in 1991 and served as head of department from 1994 to 1996. From 1994 to 2004 he served as the director of the ARC funded Key Centre for Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology. He became Emeritus in 2010. Michael’s research has focused on both basic research in human memory including mathematical models as well as a variety of applications of memory including the effects of personality, learning disabilities, air traffic control, dementia, and the role of memory in marketing. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
McElwain Building (24A) 420A
+61 7 3365 6670
+61 7 3365 6172
Postal Address:

School of Psychology
McElwain Building (24A)
The University of Queensland 
St Lucia QLD 4072

Picture of 'Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys'
Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys

BA Reed, PhD Stan., FASSA

Professional Activities:

Consulting Editor, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning
and Memory, 1976-80. 1987-1989; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 2002-

Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
Former Member of the National Committee for Psychology of the Australian Academy of Science
Former Member Australian Research Council Large Grants Panel

Picture of 'Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys'
Emeritus Professor Michael Humphreys
Research Activities:

I have  been looking at memory errors (“false memories”). This work has provided support for the Dennis and Humphreys (2001) theory. It may also provide a foundation, which could lead to an enhanced understanding of false memories for real world events, such as memories for sexual abuse.

I am working on the control processes in memory access. Here I am trying to undersand the role of context, the difficulties involved in maintaining or reinstating context and the different kind of memory retreival operations.

I have been using the maintenance rehearsal paradigm to investigate the role of attention in human memory and the reasons for forgetting in short term or working memory.

Recent work funded by an ARC grant has produced a theory of decision making under low levels of awareness and has shown that low level sensory or perceptual information is used in episodic memory.  The later finding is leading to a theory about how informaiton about scenes and sentences can be bound together by the hippocampus.

With a team of collaborators from law and marketing I am examining the role of similarity in trademark legislation.  The objectives  are to determine which of the assumptions made by the legal system are supported by psychological research and to explore ways to objectively measure similarity.



Representative Publications:

Representative and Recent Publications

*Humphreys, M.S., Bain, J.D., & Pike, R. (1989). Different ways to cue a coherent memory system: A theory for episodic, semantic and procedural tasks. Psychological Review, 96, 208-233.

*Chappell, M. & Humphreys, M. S. (1994). An auto-associative neural network for sparse representations: Analysis and application to models of recognition and cued recall. Psychological Review, 101, 103-128.

*Dennis, S. & Humphreys, M. S. (2001). A Context Noise Model of Episodic Recognition Memory. Psychological Review. 108, 452-478.

Humphreys, M. S., Dennis, S., Maguire, A., M., Kelley, R.; Boland, S. W., & Hughes, J. D.(2003). What You Get Out of Memory Depends on the Question You Ask. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 797–812

Tehan, G., Humphreys, M. S., Tolan, G. A., & Pitcher, C. (2004). The Role of Context in Producing Item Interactions and False Memories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 107-119.

Humphreys, M. S., Murray, K. L. & Maguire, A. M. (2009) Contexts and Control Operations Used in Accessing List-Specific, Generalized, and Semantic Memories. Cognitive Psychology. 58, 311-337.

Humphreys, M. S., Cornwell, T. B., McAlister, A. R., Kelly, S. J., Quinn, E. A., & Murray, K. L. (2010). Sponsorship, ambushing and counter-strategy: Effects upon memory for sponsor and event, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.16(1), 96-108.

Humphreys, M. S., Maguire, A. M., McFarlane, K. A., Burt, J. S., Bolland, S. W., Murray, K.L., & Dunn, R. (2010). Using maintenance rehearsal to explore recognition memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36, 147-159.

Maguire, A. M., Humphreys, M. S., Dennis, S., & Lee, M. D. (2010). Global Similarity Accounts of Embedded-Category Designs: Tests of the Global Matching Models. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 131-148.

Humphreys, M. S., Tangen, J. M., Cornwell, T. B., Quinn, E. A. Murray, K. L. (2010). Unintended effects of memory on decision making. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 400-415.


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