School of Psychology

World-leading research and teaching

Dr Zara Bergström

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology

Deputy REF Co-ordinator



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

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Last Updated: 13/12/2018