S.2 E.3 “We Are What We Remember Ourselves to Be”

Learning for Life @ Gustavus host Greg Kaster interviews psychologist and memory expert Jennifer Ackil.
Posted on July 24th, 2020 by

Professor Jennifer Ackil of the Gustavus Psychological Science Department and an expert in memory talks about remembering and misremembering, memory and trauma among children and mothers, whether women remember better than men, and why studying psychology matters.

Season 2, Episode 3: “We Are What We Remember Ourselves to Be”

Transcript:

Greg Kaster:
Learning for Life at Gustavus has produced by JJ Akin and Matthew Dobosenski of Gustavus Office of Marketing. Will Clark, senior communications studies major and videographer at Gustavus, who also provides technical expertise to the podcast, and me, your host, Greg Kaster. The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of Gustavus Adolphus College.

In the 1958 MGM musical Gigi, there was a moment when two former lovers in their golden years played by Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold recall their last evening together long ago in a touching song titled I Remember It Well. We met at nine, we met at eight. I was on time. No, you were late. Ah yes, I remember it well, the song begins. Its title of course is ironic since it’s about how these two people remember their shared past quite differently. Indeed, in the case of Chevalier’s character, misremember it entirely.

Why, what, and how do we remember, misremember and forget? The women, as the song suggests, remember better than men. And what about false memories and memories of stressful or traumatic events among adults, adolescents and children? Fortunately, for Gustavus, we have on our faculty an expert who investigates these fascinating questions and more, my colleague and friend, professor Jennifer Ackil, the Martin Robinson Simpson professor in psychological science. Jennifer’s extensive research on memory has resulted in a long list of important publications and conference presentations on the topic, including articles in such premier journals in the fields of applied cognitive psychology, the Journal of Cognition and Development, and Memory.

As rigorous a teacher as she is a researcher, Jennifer has directed numerous research projects among psychological science majors, which have led to student presentations at various off-campus conferences. She has also served in many leadership positions at Gustavus, including as chair of her department, and currently, the faculty personnel committee charged with tenure and promotion reviews. Jennifer, it’s great to have you on the podcast to talk about memory, your research into it, and psychological science.

Jennifer Ackil:
Well, thank you Greg for having me. That was a very kind introduction. I’ll definitely remember that one.

Greg Kaster:
Okay, my pleasure. Well, let’s start. You call yourself, or you are, a cognitive psychologist. That’s your specialty in addition to memory. Could you offer us a lay person’s definition of what that means? What does it mean to be a cognitive psychologist?

Jennifer Ackil:
Well, cognitive psychologists are interested in the mind and anything that happens in the mind. So from the moment that you began processing information that you noticed in your environment, that could come in through any of your senses, that’s the point at which cognition begins. And then of course, how you use that information, how you store it, how you make decisions and think and reason using whatever information is coming in, that’s all under the purview of cognitive psychologists as well. So really, defining cognitive psychology is tricky. We often just list all of the things that cognitive psychologists are interested in, memory, thinking, decision-making, reasoning, language. But in fact, the quicker way to define it is to say cognitive psychologists are interested in anything that happens in the mind.

And that’s not to be confused with neuropsychologists who are interested in the brain, right? That’s often a misunderstanding that occurs. So a cognitive psychologist would say the mind is housed by the brain, but it is separate from it. So while our friends in neuroscience are busy figuring out what the neurons do and various areas within the brain and how they function, cognitive psychologists are really taking a broader view, more of a molar perspective, if you will, and saying, okay, regardless of what’s happening in the brain, which we know is these things are happening, what’s happening in the mind? How can we conceptualize memory and language and decision-making at a broader overview knowing that in fact, there are of course, neuronal processes that are driving all of that?

Greg Kaster:
Thank you. That’s very helpful. How did you become interested in psychology? I know your dad was a psychology prof.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yep.

Greg Kaster:
Did you… I forget. Did you major in psychology? Did you know you were going to study psychology when you went to Lawrence University, which you attended for your BA? And also, how did you come to be interested in memory specifically?

Jennifer Ackil:
Well, those are great questions. I did not know I was going to be a psychologist. In fact, because my father was one, I figured I would definitely not be one. So it took quite a long time actually for me to take general psych and then realized that psychology was in fact, something that I was interested in. I was a biology major at Lawrence University for the first three years, in fact, and just took psychology classes along the way because I found them intriguing and so on. And then I think once I got to the point where I was going to have to take some sort of molecular biology and some courses where I was going to be thinking and learning about things I couldn’t see necessarily, I sort of lost interest to be honest. I was more interested in comparative physiology and animal behavior and those kinds of things.

And so once I realized that, I also realized that psychology maybe was a better avenue for me, where I could look at behaviors and not have to use a microscope and ask broader questions perhaps. I’m not sure if that’s fair to my biology colleagues, but that’s the way I saw it at the time. And so, I actually wasn’t a psychology major in college until my senior year. And then of course, as a senior, I wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do after I graduated, but I had one professor in particular, Ms. Riley was her name. She was working on her PhD in developmental psychology. And I don’t know where she is today, but she had an incredible impact on my decision to pursue psychology because she said in a very casual way to me, “Why don’t you just try graduate school and then quit if you don’t like it?”

And that was, for some reason, an epiphany to me. And so I went to graduate school thinking, “Well, I’m interested in this stuff, but I’ll just quit if I don’t like it.” And it was easier for me to imagine myself having the life of a psychologist because, of course, my dad was a psychologist, a college professor. So I tried it and found that I really liked it, so I continued on. And when I first started, I was interested in more animal learning types of things. Maybe that was a holdover from my background in biology. So I actually went to Kent State University and worked with David Riccio, who does memory research with animals. And I adore professor Riccio and I’m grateful for the start that he gave me, but as I was testing the rats in his lab and so on, I realized that I was really more interested in asking questions about memory that people could answer.

So, I was very fortunate at the time to be taking cognitive psychology from Maria Zaragoza, who was lovely and allowed me to join her lab where I was able to ask questions about memory that were as interesting as those I was asking and thinking about in the work with Dr. Riccio on the animals. But of course, you can ask humans to respond, and so you can ask questions that might be a little more easily answered, right? So I love the animal learning literature. It’s so elegant and beautiful in its simplicity and in the way you have to think about how to design experiments to answer questions, because of course, the rats can’t talk, but I found that for myself, working with humans and asking questions that could be a little bit more complex for lack of a better descriptor, that that was really where my interest was. And so, that’s how I got to be a cognitive psychologist and study memory.

Greg Kaster:
I love these stories from people I interview because rarely is there a direct line between where they started, let’s say, in their undergraduate education and where they end up. And so, in fact, I didn’t know you had majored in or thought of majoring in biology and didn’t come to psychology until late. It’s also, you also help us to remember and understand how important it is, how transformative it can be what a professor says to you. So what Ms. Riley said is an example of that. And also, we don’t have time to get into this I realize, but also, I lately have listened to a podcast about animals and memory. And I don’t remember the animals, but that was absolutely fascinating. First, I think we forget that we are animals, and then secondly, that nonhuman animals have memory as well.

What is it about memory that that… I guess two questions, what is it about memory that so intrigues you or interests you? And then if you could talk to us a little bit about some of your takeaways from your research on memory. I know we’ve all had experiences where we are… As the song suggests. I went through this myself. I was insisting to a friend that he and his wife had been to our house for dinner. And I was stunned when he replied, “You’ve never invited us to dinner.” And I just have a vivid memory of them being at our dining room table in our home, we were conversing, and then there’s no way to prove who’s [inaudible 00:10:57] correctly or not. But in any case, prof, what it is about memory that intrigues you? And if you could offer us some key takeaways from your research on memory.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yeah. Well, I think what intrigues me is what intrigues you, right? Which is that memory is fallible. It’s malleable. I think if memory was a perfectly working cognitive process, we would figure out how it works and then no one would be that interested in it because it would just record, as we know, things happened and that would be that. But of course, memory is not like a video recorder, and so it’s highly fallible, highly malleable. And that’s what I find fascinating along with the fact that we are, of course, what we remember ourselves to be, right? So I don’t want to get too philosophical here, but of course, your whole perception of yourself and who you are and what makes you important in your own eyes to the world is really the result of the experiences that you’ve had and that you remember. And some of those things you might remember explicitly, you might be able to declare that you have them.

And of course, there are memories that are not available to conscious awareness. So that’s another whole area that is sort of outside of my realm of expertise, but there are implicit memories. Things that are recorded in your memory, but that you might not even have conscious awareness of. So there’s just really no end to what makes memory fascinating. It is all encompassing in that regard. But my particular interest is in the ways in which memories can be reconstructed and remembered inaccurately. That is really my area of primary interest. So, were you asking me to talk a little bit about my research in that regard, Greg? I can’t recall your question.

Greg Kaster:
Yes, sure. Please.

Jennifer Ackil:
Okay.

Greg Kaster:
Yes.

Jennifer Ackil:
So, that’s where my training lies, right? In false memory and remembering in ways that are not necessarily accurate. And that comes out of an interest in remembering the origins of our memories. So there’s an area of research called source memory, right? And there’s a whole host of people who are engaged in exploring the ways in which we remember the origins of our memory. And that sort of led me to be interested in how we might misremember the source of our memories such as it happens when, for example, an eye witness may misremember something that she was told and believe that in fact, she witnessed that, right? So if you have an eye witness who sees something and later is questioned about the event that she saw, there’s plenty of research that suggests that if something is suggested to her that was not present in the witnessed event, that she is more likely than chance to misremember that suggested piece of information.

So that whole literature I found fascinating. And that led me to wonder about some very practical aspects of remembering, which is what if you witnessed an event and someone is questioning you about that event and pushing you to answer questions about things that you didn’t see or you didn’t remember? So you can imagine that in a witnessed event, someone might say to you, “Well,” depending on the event, let’s imagine one where there was a, something took place, there’s a perpetrator and the questioner or the interviewer might believe that there was a weapon involved and there wasn’t, okay? Or you didn’t see it.

And so the interviewer might say to you, “Well, what kind of weapon was the perpetrator carrying?” And you say, “I don’t remember seeing that.” Or, “I don’t know.” And the interviewer perhaps very innocently says, “Well, just give me your best guess. Just tell me what kind of weapon you think the perpetrator might’ve had.” And you say, “I don’t know. Maybe a knife.” So, you now have answered… You’ve been pressured to answer this question about a detail that you didn’t see in the witnessed event, and you know at the time that you didn’t see that, right? So what I became particularly interested in was would you always remember that you didn’t see that, or would the information that you fabricated become a part of the memory for the event that you witnessed?

And in fact, what my research suggested sometime ago was that when people are forced to fabricate information about an event that they witnessed, even though they know at the time they were forced to confabulate that information, nonetheless, over time, that information becomes a part of their memory representation. And they often forget that they were the source of that information and believe that that piece of information that they fabricated, the knife for example, was something that they witnessed. And that I think has, well, it’s really interesting from a practical standpoint, of course, but it also tells us some things about the way that memory is working, right? That it’s not preserving information as it takes place like a video recorder, that it is highly vulnerable and susceptible to misinformation and that the representation of what your experience is changes.

And in fact, what we now know from lots of research that others have conducted is that when you are remembering something, you are not necessarily remembering that experience as it happened. And then the next time you recall that experience, you’re really remembering the memory, not the experience itself. So when you talk about misremembering that you had your friend over for dinner, probably what happened is at some point, you were thinking about that experience, right? You have a friend that you enjoy and you’ve had dinner with this friend perhaps other times, and you’ve thought about a situation where you had them to your house for dinner, and now that is your memory for the event. So it’s not intentional that our memories change necessarily. It’s often not quite our fault, but you are now remembering the memory and not the original event.

Greg Kaster:
And of course, I’m assuming he’s wrong and I’m right. That’s another stopper.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yes, of course. Time is changing that all, Greg.

Greg Kaster:
Right. What about… So if I’m understanding correctly, misremembering can occur or does occur. Memories are not recorded precisely and exactly as you are witnessing something, you’re experiencing something. And then there’s also misremembering that occurs when you’re recalling.

Jennifer Ackil:
Correct. Yeah, that’s [crosstalk 00:18:46].

Greg Kaster:
It seems like there’s more than one point I would… Okay. Yeah, that I find fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yeah, exactly.

Greg Kaster:
What about… And obviously, this has implications for the law, and I assume this helps to explain why people, I’m thinking of the Central Park Five, for example, why people confess to crimes they in fact didn’t… Is that true?

Jennifer Ackil:
Oh yes. Well, there’s a really-

Greg Kaster:
Is that part of it?

Jennifer Ackil:
Prolific researcher who does some, Saul Kassin is his name, who does some really fantastic research on false confession. And then, so it’s pretty amazing that people will falsely confess to these crimes when they haven’t done them. It’s hard for us to imagine doing that. But of course, there are lots of examples where people are put in these terrible situations and they do falsely confess to things that they didn’t do. But then what happens over time is I think that becomes really difficult to untangle both for the person who has falsely confessed, because of that false confession can be tricky for the person, him or herself, but certainly, it becomes tricky for the person who is evaluating that memory, right? Because once there’s a memory on the scene, it’s very difficult to update that, to change it and to undo that memory.

There’s a very famous case of a woman who was assaulted and was interviewed by a police officer and chose a perpetrator out of a lineup who was incorrect, right? This is not the only example, but it’s the one I’m thinking of. And she chose this person out of the lineup believing it was the person. She felt very confident in that. And over time, even though it was the incorrect person, it became more and more clear to her that that was the perpetrator. And to this day, I will skip all the details of this very interesting and complicated story, but to this day, they have become friends, she and the person who was falsely accused, and she still sees him as the perpetrator. It’s so difficult to update a memory that is incorrect in some ways. So it’s just, there’s so many avenues-

Greg Kaster:
Wow.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yes, that you’ve picked up on here. I can go on for hours.

Greg Kaster:
And I suppose, thinking about the recent events in Minneapolis and similar events before, and since that this idea of police wearing body cameras is a way around some of these issues. And yet we know even that video, those images can be subject to interpretation and misinterpretation, although the evidence in Mr. Floyd’s case and some of the other cases seems quite clear.

Jennifer Ackil:
Sure.

Greg Kaster:
But my point is even if you’re recording something, you’re not necessarily… Literally recording it with a camera, you’re not necessarily capturing all that is happening or all that you think is happening.

In any case. What about… Let’s turn to some of your research. Well, go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry.

Jennifer Ackil:
As I was saying, of course, that’s the other aspect of cognitive psychology that’s interesting, right? Which is sort of, on the fringe of my expertise, sort of outside my expertise, I guess I would say, which is that we bring to our perceptions, our thoughts and our preconceived notions and our stereotypes. And so, yes, I think it is those recordings are way around relying on the human fallibility of memory per se, and yet we know our perceptions are fallible also and subject to bias and so on as a function of our cognition.

Greg Kaster:
Exactly. You’ve done research I find quite interesting, partly because it’s so personal to all of us associated with Gustavus, especially at the time there was a devastating tornado in the spring of 1998. And you’ve been involved in researching memories of that tornado on the part of both children and I believe mothers as well. Could you tell us a little bit about some of your findings from that research?

Jennifer Ackil:
Sure. Well, that was a very interesting time of course. That research on autobiographical remembering in moms and kids is something that I never imagined that I would be doing. But of course, as you mentioned, in 1998, the devastating tornado that hit St. Peter provided an opportunity to look at the way children and their moms remember traumatic events. So the research was very serendipitous in that I was visiting with a prominent researcher who’s now at Emory University, Patricia Bauer, who was serving as an evaluator for my third year review. And as we were chatting about what had happened, she was visiting campus and the windows were gone and plywood was everywhere. We were talking about how interesting it would be to examine children’s memory for that experience.

And as a way of looking at children’s memory, we decided to include their mothers of course, because it was a very traumatic event. For those of you who lived in St. Peter, you know that this was quite frightening. So we decided to follow the lead of some other researchers and ask moms and kids to talk together about what they remembered about the tornado. And we did this a few months after the tornado, I believe another year later, and then nine years later. And we asked moms and kids to talk together about their experience with the tornado and compared those memories to memories that they had for other positive experiences in their life because the idea was not just to say, this is what people remember about the tornado, but is there a way in which moms and kids talk about traumatic events differently than they talk about positive or non-traumatic events?

And the upshot of that research, there’s a lot to say there, but I think that the memories for the tornado, as one might suspect, were more enduring than the memories for the non-traumatic events. And that the ways that moms and kids talked about memories for the tornado was such that they were more complete in their memories, more coherent in the way they talked about the tornado, not just a few months after its occurrence, but sometime later also.

And then the other thing I think that has always been kind of a takeaway from me is that when we returned to these moms and kids who so generously gave up their time nine years after the event, what was interesting to me is that many of the children who had participated nine years prior, still remembered many things about the tornado and were less likely to remember things about the non-traumatic events, which perhaps would be intuitive to people. But I think what’s interesting about that for me is that many of those kids were age six or under when the tornado occurred.

And so I think the fact that they’re nine years later still remembering the tornado suggests that that event will always be a part of their autobiography, right? It will be an enduring part of their personal history in a way that many of the other non-traumatic events and things that were important in their lives but not traumatic, may fall away. So I think that was sort of outside of my graduate school training to just observe these memories as they were occurring. I was trained to use more experimental methods where you manipulate an independent variable and look for cause and effect. And so this was kind of stepping out of my comfort zone in that regard, but it really was a fantastic opportunity because of the generosity of the moms and kids in St. Peter who were so willing to give us of their time and talk about these events with us.

Greg Kaster:
And that’s a great example of how a researcher often responds to serendipitous events. So you’re meeting… I mean, the tornado wasn’t serendipitous obviously but it had occurred, and then meeting professor Bauer, et cetera. You were humans and being able to adapt and head off in a new direction. Picking up on what you just talked about to… And I know this is a huge topic I’m sure, if I should say. No, I assume it is. Do children and adults remember differently?

Jennifer Ackil:
Yeah, I think children and adults they do and they don’t. So I think, yes, if we think about how memories can be so enduring, and part of that relies on prior knowledge, right? So if you understand something as it’s happening, you have a schema or you have a framework for thinking about the experience as it’s ongoing, it’s probably going to be a little bit easier for you to remember that experience later on. It’s also probably a little more susceptible to misremembering because something might happen that is inconsistent with your schema or your framework for whatever experience that you’re having.

And so if you typically, to go back to your example once more, have the friend over to your house for dinner, and there was an occasion where you didn’t have him over, you went someplace else, your schema is such that there’s probably an expectation that when you have dinner with this friend, he comes to your house. And so, you know how to think about that. You know how to record that information and you’re probably more likely to misremember that.

So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that adults have a way of seeing the world, which makes it easier for them to store the information, but it also makes them a bit more susceptible to misremembering in some instances. And I say that with a caveat, which is that children are probably also less likely to engage in the kind of effortful processing that adults engage in. So in some of my own previous research, when we looked at the extent to which children versus adults would misremember things that they were forced to fabricate, children didn’t do nearly as well in terms of accuracy as adults did.

So in a laboratory situation, when the kids were asked, “Did you tell me that the person was wearing a hat, or did you see the person wearing a hat?” They were much more apt to say, “Oh, I saw that,” because they’re less effortful in their processing, less able to discriminate than an adult. So it’s really a mixed bag. But of course, adults teach children how to remember. And so there’s a whole interesting area of research on how moms and kids remember together and the way that moms, and it is mostly moms, although this is true of dads too, the way that parents talk to their children has an influence on what they remember later on. Not just because they’re remembering the things that they talked about, but because they now have a way of understanding how to remember and how to think about things from their past. So it’s a fascinating topic.

Greg Kaster:
That I find extremely interesting, because if I’m understanding you correctly, clearly, there’s a biological underpinning to memory or a memory is biological, physiological, neurological, but there’s also then, I hadn’t thought about that, this cultural aspect or social aspect where you’re taught how to remember by your parents, let’s say. I find it very interesting. And that reminds me that more than anyone I know, you have forced me over the years and in our conversations and with some readings you’ve recommended and that I’ve done, to think about the ways in which how we behave as people are biologically determined or influenced versus socially conditioned.

And of course, my training as a historian has always inclined more toward the latter, but I really have come to appreciate the biological underpinnings. But here you are talking about not just that, but that memory is also learned and taught. I find that extremely interesting. What about, I know this is a… I doubt it’ll be a thorny topic, but what about the notion that I think it’s certainly in that song from Gigi, I Remember It Well, I asked this before, that women remember more accurately than men. And this is a common idea. Is there any truth, any scientific basis to that?

Jennifer Ackil:
Well, as a woman, yes. Greg, there is [crosstalk 00:33:14] men. No. I don’t know that it’s as clear cut as that, and this is something that always comes up in, I shouldn’t say always, but often comes up in my classroom when we’re talking about this. There are some gender differences, right? And so I’m going to make some sweeping generalizations here, but I think there is some research in the autobiographical memory literature that suggests that some… There’s some evidence to suggest that women tend to remember more details, more characteristics of emotion, and that men may in fact, be remembering more accomplishments, more objective events. So there may be some differences in the kind of characteristics that men and women report that are different. And of course, I’m not so sure that that’s a function of their biology as much as it is why is… it couldn’t be that men and women are different in their socialization of course, and thinking about things differently as they occur.

So I’m not sure why these differences sometimes exist, but I think going back to what you were talking about, which is the socialization and the cultural aspect of remembering, that seems to me to be a likely explanation, at least partially, for why men and women sometimes do remember things differently, right? Because part of what you bring to remembering is influenced by what’s important to you, what you want to remember, the biases that we all have when we’re in the situation, right? All of those things influence how you see a situation, how you represent an experience in your mind, and then of course, the way you get back to that information. So there’s lots of reasons to believe that when we step away from the neural underpinnings, which may in fact be very similar between men and women, that socially, we come to remember things in different ways.

Greg Kaster:
Thank you.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yeah.

Greg Kaster:
Let’s step away from memory for a second and talk about the liberal arts, because you went to a very fine liberal arts institution, Lawrence, you teach at a very fine liberal arts institution, Gustavus. I don’t know to what extent you were aware of what it meant to attend a liberal arts college at the time you were at Lawrence, which is thinking back on both that experience, your current experience at Gustavus. What is there about a liberal arts college that you find rewarding for both you as a professor and for the students as well?

Jennifer Ackil:
Well, I don’t know if I appreciated it as much as I maybe should have when I was an undergraduate. I just was very fortunate to attend a liberal arts institution, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, as you mentioned, that I found to be just so formative in my growing up and learning to become a citizen of the world. And in fact, many of my fond memories of Lawrence and the classes that I have there, of course I have lots, I could list many of them, but they’re not all in biology or psychology. I remember learning about how to think about the environment and how to write and how to think clearly about ideas, and those things didn’t happen in my major necessarily. Of course, I did those things in my major, no disrespect to those faculty members, but a lot of that learning came about in different kinds of classrooms.

So, I just have come to believe so strongly that the liberal arts helps us to become good citizens of the world and that along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to become good employees, right? That being a good citizen of the world probably makes you a better employee and that learning how to think and wrestle with ideas and be open and explore interesting areas that may be outside of your comfort zone, an area of passion or expertise, that that’s really what it’s all about.

And I just think that… I just feel so strongly that that’s an important way to contribute to the world. So I feel grateful to be able to be at Gustavus, working with students who are open to new ideas and to thinking about the world in different ways, and to be at a place where I get to go to work every day with such wise people like you and the rest of our colleagues who push me to think about things in new and interesting ways.

Greg Kaster:
Well, likewise. And I have to say the theme of the podcast thus far has really been the openness of so many of our students, not all, but many, most, I would say, to new experiences, new ideas. To being pushed out of their comfort zone, which is, I think, how learning occurs for all of us regardless of age.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yes.

Greg Kaster:
We’re almost out of time, but before we conclude, I do want to give you a chance to make your pitch for psychology specifically. Why is studying psychology important?

Jennifer Ackil:
Oh, well, I’m very much biased in this, of course, but I think understanding psychology, the mind and behavior, which is the definition of psychology, right? An understanding of behavior and mind, it’s always been of interest, but there’s really no better time to think about how people are making decisions and perceiving the world and behaving in the world. It’s complicated and heavy stuff, but it is so interesting and important in every aspect of our life. And I think that what psychologists bring to the situation is an understanding of how to make sense of some of these things, right? How to understand cause and effect, how to collect data, how to analyze those data and look at the evidence and figure out how something works just for its own sake, but of course, to serve the purpose of figuring out how to make change or how to do things differently. So I just feel like psychological scientists are such good thinkers about evidence. And of course, using that evidence to understand behavior and mind is just a really valuable skill to have no matter what a person ends up doing in their life.

Greg Kaster:
I would agree. I took one psych course, it was probably required when I was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. And I remember it well. I can remember the teaching system well. I can picture the textbook, at least. I think I can remember it well. Fortunately, I’m just remembering in any case.

Jennifer Ackil:
It’s okay.

Greg Kaster:
Yeah, but I hate to conclude because I enjoy talking with you so much about memory. And I have to say it’s another just discussion. It’s another way in which disciplines can connect. So as you know, I’ve spoken with you about this historian, [inaudible 00:41:18]. His stories of many of us, myself included, are interested in how people remember past events, including past events they never experienced, maybe weren’t even alive for. And so, we talk about collective historical memory, and I think so much of what you have said and what you study, what’s your research has revealed, bears on that. Not in some neat linear way, but it’s certainly relevant. So, I appreciate learning from you about how to think about not only individual memories of what individuals have experienced, but also how collective historical memory works as well.

Jennifer Ackil:
Yes.

Greg Kaster:
So, thank you. Thank you so much. I hope to see you back on-campus before long as we resume. We all hope in-person in the fall, and take good care.

Jennifer Ackil:
Thank you, Greg. It’s been my pleasure.

Greg Kaster:
Thanks Jennifer.

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