School of Psychology

World-leading research and teaching

Dr Zara Bergström

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology
and Deputy Director of Research and Enterprise



Research interests

My research investigates interactions between intentional and automatic processes during long-term memory retrieval. I am particularly interested in the neurocognitive mechanisms that allow us to control what aspects of our past we consciously remember — both in terms of facilitating memories that we want to retrieve and also preventing unwanted memories from automatically coming to mind. I use a combination of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience techniques (EEG, MEG, fMRI, TMS) to address questions such as:

  • What are the neurocognitive mechanisms that enable us to stop unwanted retrieval?
  • Is memory-related brain activity under voluntary control, and if so, what are the implications for tests that use brain activity markers of memory as evidence of criminal guilt?
  • Can retrieval attempts enhance learning of new information and updating of existing memories?
  • What are the effects of healthy ageing on retrieval processes, retrieval-induced learning and memory updating?

Key recent publications

  • Hu, X., Bergström, Z., Gagnepain, P., & Anderson, M. (2017). Suppressing Unwanted Memories Reduces Their Unintended Influences. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 26, 197-206.
  • Bergström, Z., Williams, D., Bhula, M., & Sharma, D. (2016). Unintentional and intentional recognition rely on dissociable neurocognitive mechanisms. Journal Of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28, 1838-1848.
  • Bergström, Z. M., Vogelsang, D. A., Benoit, R. G. & Simons, J. S. (2015). Reflections of oneself: Neurocognitive evidence for dissociable forms of self-referential recollection. Cerebral Cortex, 25, 2648-2657.
  • Bergström, Z. M., Anderson, M. C., Buda, M., Simons, J. S., & Richardson-Klavehn, A. (2013). Intentional retrieval suppression can conceal guilty knowledge in ERP memory detection tests. Biological Psychology, 94, 1-11.



School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

Contact us

Last Updated: 14/11/2017