David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Kimberly Wear

 Wear revised


Associate Professor of Psychology
Chair Institutional Review Board

(336) 841-9246

222 School of Education





Ph.D.   2003    University of Texas, Arlington
Experimental/Cognitive Psychology (with Human Memory, Adult Development, & Quantitative breadth areas)
Dissertation: An Un-Inhibited View of Homograph Processing

M.S.    2000   University of Texas, Arlington
Experimental/Cognitive Psychology
Thesis: The Effects of Emotional Arousal on Memory for Verbal Material

B.A.     1995    University of Tennessee

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Advanced Research Methods in Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Theories of Learning & Memory
  • Language & Thought (Psycholinguistics)
  • Cognitive Aging

Research Interests:

My main research interest concerns the concept of behavioral inhibition in memory. Behavioral inhibition differs from inhibition at the level of the synapse. The existence of inhibition is in question. It seems logical given anecdotal evidence of unintended memories such as a painful breakup, a loved one who has passed away. Something in the environment may trigger the retrieval of this memory without conscious intent. Preventing these intrusive, unwanted memories from gaining access to our conscious memory or ridding ourselves of them if they do gain access is a task often assigned to the mechanism of inhibition. Researchers do not agree that a separate mechanism, inhibition, is necessary to explain how we select the relevant information from the irrelevant information. Results from several lines of research have been unable to demonstrate inhibition in situations designed to elicit it. However, there are other lines of research that demonstrate the need for inhibition. Researchers are currently investigating this discrepancy. Current projects include using psycholinguistic paradigms (relatedness decision task, sentence verification), as well as more traditional memory paradigms (word association, analogy completion), and retrieval-induced-forgetting along with the DRM paradigm.

A related interest concerns the role of interference and inhibition in emotional memory. Memory for emotionally arousing material has begun to show some clear patterns. In the case of negative emotion, memory for central details appears to be enhanced at the cost of peripheral details. The little research that has focused on positive emotion has shown very mixed results. In addition, the emotional nature of the information remembered interacts with the emotional nature of the situation. Research has demonstrated both enhancement and decrements in memory for neutral items immediately preceding or following emotionally arousing items. Previous research has used a variety of stimuli (words, line drawings, IAPS images combined with clipart), retrieval methods, and retrieval intervals. It is possible that emotional information produces an interference of the encoding of items both immediately before and after it. One theory suggests that an inhibition mechanism is responsible for this lack of encoding. Current projects include the use of the International Affective Picture System and Affective Norms for English Words to manipulate emotional arousing and examine memory for emotionally neutral images and words presented before and after.


Psychology at HPU


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