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Moderator Jason Mittell and panelists Rebecca Bennette, Daniel Brayton, Rachael Joo, and Christian Keathley discuss how the relationship between memory and place functions in literature, art, and culture. This topic was inspired by the fact that we had just transformed our old library – which was the College’s centennial building in 1900 – into a center for literary and cultural studies.

People

Joo, Rachel

Bennette, Rebecca

Brayton, Dan

Keathley, Christian

Mittell, Jason

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Recent evidence shows that a combination of studying and testing can enhance a memory more than strictly studying over that same amount of time, as measured by a test afterward. This is a phenomenon known as the testing effect. Most testing effect studies have focused on testing to improve rote memorization. The present study investigated whether the testing effect aids the application — or transfer — of learning to new situations. In this study, 64 participants learned to solve analogical word problems that required the application of mathematical probability principles. In the first phase of the experiment, half of the participants studied some word problems and their solutions repeatedly while the other half of the participants both studied and solved those word problems. A day later, all participants were tested on new probability word problems. These new problems were designed to assess whether participants were able to apply the probability principles that they learned to new problems. Results suggested that preliminary testing did not improve participants’ ability to solve new problems on the final test, and that all participants were most accurate on new problems that were most similar to old problems.

People

Cloe Shasha
Researcher

Jason Arndt
Sponsor, Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Director

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It is impossible to understand a nation’s motivations and actions without being familiar with its national identity and the circumstances that shaped it. In the early twentieth century, Germany and Italy were both governed by authoritarian regimes that intertwined extreme nationalism with fascist ideology. After WWII, each nation faced the difficult task of redefining the political, social, and ethical terms of its national identity. We ask the question “How did Italy and Germany come to terms with their fascist past, and to what extent is the legacy of fascism still alive in national discourse?” Our research, which uses Italian, German and English sources, shows that despite underlying similarities, each nation has taken a different approach to integrating their fascist past into national identity. We look, for example, at how Hitler and Mussolini are differently remembered and the effect of their political and cultural legacies. The larger aim of this presentation is to show how, generally speaking, memory is a key factor in national identity.

People

Ashley Litzenberger
Mark Turpin
Researchers

Natasha Chang
Sponsor & Professor of Italian

Natalie Eppelsheimer
Sponsor & Assistant Professor of German

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A MiddLab Project

The effects of prolonged exposure to prolactin upon adult neurogenesis

Learn more about Biology at Middlebury College.

For his thesis research, Tyler Prince (’11) is continuing our research with prolactin to examine the effects of prolonged exposure to prolactin upon adult neurogenesis. This summer, he conducted histological staining for newly proliferated cells in the hippocampus (See pictures).

The hippocampus is an area of the brain that plays a critical role in the processing of spatial and temporal memories and is involved in working memory more generally. Therefore, the growth of new nerve cells is of particular interest in this brain region, and our research has implications for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and chronic depression.

People

Tyler Prince
Researcher

Mark Spritzer
Assistant Professor of Biology

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Full Project Description [DOC]

Spritzer et al Figure 2

Evidence that an acute low dose of the hormone prolactin caused an increase
in cell proliferation within the hippocampus region of the brain


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