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Colin MacLeod

Professor & Chair

Colin MacLeodBA (McGill University)

PhD (University of Washington)

Contact information

Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

Fellow, Canadian Psychological Association

Fellow, American Psychological Association (Divisions 1 and 3)

Fellow, Association for Psychological Science

Fellow, The Psychonomic Society

Recipient, 2007, 2010, 2014 Outstanding Performance Award

Memory, Attention and Cognition Lab (MACL)

Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology at uWaterloo

Research interests

Throughout my career, my research has emphasized the broad domain of human cognition, with particular focus on attention, learning, and memory. Initially, my work was in the area of verbal learning and memory, with emphasis on long-term memory structure and process, and especially in intentional forgetting, a topic which I have continued to study. Subsequently, I also became interested in individual differences in cognition, highlighting how people differ in their linguistic and spatial skills and strategies. Some of this work revolved around basic processes involved in reading. These domains then led me to a continuing interest in the area of attention. Primarily, this research has concerned the development of skill (automaticity) through learning/practice, particularly using the Stroop colour-word interference measure as a model task. More recently, my memory research has emphasized the role of consciousness in memory and the distinction between indirect tests of memory (implicit measures that do not require conscious awareness) and direct tests of memory (explicit measures that do require conscious awareness). Most recently, my lab has been exploring the production effectthat having said things out loud helps in remembering them—and contingency learning—developing implicit associations between relevant and irrelevant information.  I continue to be fascinated by the interplay between attention and memory, and the role that learning plays in that interaction.

Selected publications (last 5 years)

(Note: These and all other publications are available for download as PDFs from my lab website; see the link above.)

  • Forrin, N. D., Groot, B., & MacLeod, C. M. (2016). The d-Prime directive: Assessing costs and benefits in recognition by dissociating mixed-list false alarm rates. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 1090-1111.
  • Forrin, N. D., & MacLeod, C. M. (2016). Auditory presentation at test does not diminish the production effect in recognition. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 116-124. 
  • Forrin, N. D., & MacLeod, C. M. (2016). Order information is used to guide recall of long lists: Further evidence for the item-order account. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 125-138.
  • Jonker, T. R., & MacLeod, C. M. (2015). Disruption of relational processing underlies poor memory for order. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41, 831-840.
  • Jonker, T. R., Seli, P., & MacLeod, C. M. (2015). Retrieval-induced forgetting and context. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(4), 273-278.
  • Putnam, A.L., Ozubko, J.D., MacLeod, C.M., & Roediger, H.L., III (2014). The production effect in paired-associate learning: Benefits for item and associative information. Memory & Cognition, 42, 409-420.
  • Ozubko, J.D., Major, J., & MacLeod, C.M. (2014). Remembered study mode: Support for the distinctiveness account of the production effect. Memory, 22, 509-524.
  • Forrin, N.D., Jonker, T.R., & MacLeod, C.M. (2014). Production improves memory equivalently following elaborative vs. non-elaborative processing. Memory, 22, 470-480.
  • Jonker, T.R., Levene, M., & MacLeod, C.M. (2013). Testing the item-order account of design effects using the production effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 441-448.
  • Jonker, T.R., Seli, P., & MacLeod, C.M. (2013). Putting retrieval-induced forgetting in context: An inhibition-free, context-based account. Psychological Review, 120, 852-872.
  • MacLeod, C.M. (2013). The six R's of remembering. Canadian Psychology, 54, 38-49.
  • MacLeod, C. M., Pottruff, M. M., Forrin, N. D., & Masson, M. E. J. (2012).  The next generation:  The value of reminding.  Memory & Cognition, 40, 693-702.
  • Lin, O. Y. H., & MacLeod, C. M. (2012).  Aging and the production effect:  A test of the distinctiveness account.  Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 212-216.
  • Forrin, N. D., MacLeod, C. M., & Ozubko, J. D. (2012). Widening the boundaries of the production effect.  Memory & Cognition, 40, 1046-1055.
  • Jonker, T. R., Seli, P., & MacLeod, C. M. (2012). Less we forget:  Release from retrieval-induced forgetting.  Memory & Cognition, 40, 1236-1245.
  • Ozubko, J. D., Hourihan, K. L., & MacLeod, C. M. (2012).  Production benefits learning:  The production effect endures and improves memory for text.  Memory, 20, 717-727.
  • Jonker, T. R., Seli, P., & MacLeod, C. M. (2013).  Putting retrieval-induced forgetting in context:  An inhibition-free, context-based account.  Psychological Review, 120, 852-872.
  • Putnam, A. L., Ozubko, J. D., MacLeod, C. M., & Roediger, H. L., III (in press).  The production effect in paired-associate learning:  Benefits for item and associative information.  Memory & Cognition.
  • Danckert, S. L., MacLeod, C. M., & Fernandes, M. A. (2011). Source-constrained retrieval influences the encoding of new information. Memory & Cognition, 39, 1374-1386.
  • Wilson, D. E., Muroi, M., & MacLeod, C. M. (2011). Dilution, not load, affects distractor processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 319-335.
  • Roefs, A., Huijding, J., Smulders, F. T. Y., MacLeod, C. M., de Jong, P. J., Wiers, R. W., & Jansen, A. T. M. (2011). Implicit measures of association in psychopathology research. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 149-193.

Teaching interests

  • Introductory Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Attention & Memory

Professional memberships

  • Psychonomic Society
  • Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • American Psychological Association
  • Canadian Psychological Association
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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