Dr Philip Beaman
Tel: +44 (0) 118 378 7637
My brain (handsome, eh?)
Hold the front page…!
Click on the front-covers to follow the links for these publications.
How interesting …..
How to go about doing things the hard way.
Why do I have this seeming obsession with incompetence, I wonder….?
“I don’t belie-eve it….!”
Really not very academic stuff:
Snooks of Bridport (great name, great hats)
The mystery place (Ellery Queen)
Wallingford Bunkfest (do come along, it’ll be great fun)
Theo the Portuguese Beach Boy (7 months)
Yuletide fun (2 yrs)
Little Brother Joe (1 day), Dec 2010
Welcome to the homepage for the Cognitive Science Lab.
Dr Philip Beaman, Lab Director
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Cognitive Psychology
Some Personal Background:
I graduated from Cardiff University with a BA and PhD in Psychology (supervised by Professor Dylan Jones OBE DSc) and an MSc in Cognitive Science (under the instruction of Professor Steve Payne, now in the Computer Science Department at the University of Bath). I then worked at the Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Development Unit at University College London as a postdoctoral research fellow (or “non-clinical scientific officer”) for the Unit Director, Professor John Morton OBE FRS (now at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) before coming to Reading as a lecturer.
What is Cognitive Science?
Cognitive Science is the interdisciplinary study of intelligent behaviour and mental function. The cognitive sciences are those disciplines (not all sciences!) which are interested in the nature of mind, including (but not limited to) anthropology, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, education, linguistics, neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. The underlying idea is that solving the problem of intelligence and intelligent behaviour requires more than one approach, with each contributing discipline providing a particular, distinct perspective and methodology. This laboratory primarily, but not wholly, uses methods and techniques from experimental psychology – we also employ aspects of behavioural economics, computational and mathematical modelling, neuroimaging, cognitive anthropology and philosophical analysis.
Main Research Focus & Collaborations:
Immediate Memory: What are the factors that limit immediate memory capacity (decay of the engram? interference between representations?) and the consequences that limited immediate memory has for other cognitive capabilities. Interference between representations (or processes) is a more likely reason why immediate memory is limited than some kind of fixed-slot model, but this is an open question. Exploratory work has involved computational modelling of individual differences in immediate memory, in collaboration with Ian Neath and Aimée Surprenant (Memorial University of Newfoundland) (paper available to download from below).
Auditory Attention: Work carried out a few years ago in collaboration with Dylan Jones and Bill Macken (Cardiff University), Dianne Berry OBE (Reading) and Tom Campbell (UCDavis), examined which tasks are most susceptible to auditory distraction. A new collaboration (involving Dylan Jones, John Marsh, Maciej Hanczakowski, Rob Hughes and Patrik Sörqvist) focuses on meaningful auditory distraction. This "irrelevant sound effect" has obvious practical implications for the design of work places and study areas (research on-going in collaboration with Nigel Holt). In collaboration with Sophie Scott and colleagues (University College London) the neural underpinnings of selective auditory attention have been examined. Recent conversations with Andy Bridges (Central Queensland University) have covered attention and lateralization of function and collaboration with Fabrice Parmentier (Universities of Western Australia and the Balearic Islands, lucky chap) has examined timing and rhythm in attentional capture. Work with Tim Williams has examined “earworms” – those irritating tunes that get stuck in your head. People find that very interesting for some reason.
High-level Cognition: All kinds of oddities to do with actual, deliberate thought. Included in this are: cognitive evolution, and the possibility of non-halting procedures in cognition and other things that are more related to philosophical background than day-to-day lab-work. More prosaically, we examine the extent to which seemingly complex decision-making and choice behaviours can be accounted for (or supplemented by) a collection of fairly simple rules. Many students take the view that the mind/brain is complex but easy to understand – We work from the opposite assumption that the operating principles of the mind are actually quite simple but the behaviours it produces can be hard to understand. Most of this has been in collaboration with Rachel McCloy, Caren Frosch (University of Leicester) and Philip Smith.
Cognitive Engineering: The application of cognitive theory to improve the usefulness, efficiency and enjoyability of what the archaeologists call “material culture”, i.e., any kind of tool or artefact from the simplest (documents, hand-held tools) to the more complex (ipads, smartphones). Following on from this, we have attempted to apply some simple ideas and principles about human thought and the control of behaviour to an important social problem – the design of carbon neutral and energy-efficient sustainable buildings for the future. Buildings expected, and engineered, to be carbon neutral are found not to be in practice, and much of this difference between the design intention and the actual performance can be laid squarely at the door of occupant behaviour. A Research Engineer (Richard Tetlow) sponsored by AECOM and the EPSRC is working on this project in collaboration with this Lab and with Abbas Elmualim, through the auspices of the Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE) centre at the University. Rich has just been awarded the Best Paper (as judged by industry) at the annual TSBE conference for the second year running – Well done, Rich!
See the “Current and on-going work” section for the latest developments on any of these projects. Keywords for my interests include:
Subject areas: cognitive architecture, cognitive modelling, cognitive science, cognitive engineering, experimental psychology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science.
Topics: attention, auditory cognition, distraction, fast and frugal heuristics, judgement (judgment) and decision-making, short-term memory, working memory.
…although as the above indicates, I’m also interested in other things besides.
Multidisciplinary centres around the University with which I am associated, or with whom I have links:
If you are interested in a topic close to any of my research interests (auditory distraction, immediate memory, cognitive limits and high-level cognition (problem-solving, decision-making….)), why not get in touch with me to discuss ideas and opportunities for study at Reading.
Beaman, C. P., Hanczakowski, M., Hodgetts, H. M., Marsh, J. E., & Jones, D. M. (in press). Memory as discrimination: What distraction reveals. Memory & Cognition.
Beaman, C. P., & Williams, T. I. (in press). Individual differences in mental control predict involuntary musical imagery. Musicae Scientiae.
Marsh, J. E., Sörqvist, P., Beaman, C. P., & Jones, D. M. (in press). Auditory distraction eliminates retrieval-induced forgetting: Implications for the processing of unattended sound. Experimental Psychology.
Beaman, C. P. (2013). Inferring the biggest and best: A measurement model for applying recognition to evoke consideration sets and choose between multiple alternatives. Cognitive Systems Research, 24, 18-25 (invited submission to special issue on Best of the International Conference on Cognitive Modelling, 2012)
Marsh, J. E., Beaman, C. P., Hughes, R. W., & Jones, D. M. (2012). Inhibitory control in memory: Evidence for negative priming in free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 38, 1377-88.
Beaman, C. P. (2010). Working memory and working attention: What could possibly evolve? Current Anthropology, 51, S27-S38.
Beaman, C. P., Smith, P. T., Frosch, C., & McCloy, R. (2010). Less-is-more effects without the recognition heuristic. Judgment & Decision-Making, 5, 258-271.[Download]
Beaman, C. P., & Williams, T. I. (2010) Earworms (“stuck song syndrome”): Towards a natural history of intrusive thoughts. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 637-653. [Links to ABC online and BPS Research Blog describing this article.]
McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P., Frosch, C., & Goddard, K. (2010). Fast and frugal framing effects? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 36, 1042-1052.
Scott, S. K., Rosen, S., Beaman, C. P., Davis, J., & Wise, R. (2009). The neural processing of masked speech: Evidence for different mechanisms in the left and right temporal lobes. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 1737-1743. [Download]
Beaman, C. P., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2008). Modeling distributions of immediate memory effects: No strategies needed? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 34, 219-229. [Download]
McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P., & Smith, P. T. (2008). The relative success of recognition-based inference in multi-choice decisions. Cognitive Science, 32, 1037-1048. [A spreadsheet to calculate the success of the recognition heuristic according to different assumptions is available here]
Beaman, C. P. (2007). Sherlock Holmes as a philosopher? Elementary. Nature, 445, 593. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (2007). Modern cognition in the absence of working memory: Does the working memory account of Neandertal cognition work? Journal of Human Evolution, 52, 702-706. [Download]
Beaman, C. P., Bridges, A. M., & Scott, S. K. (2007). From dichotic listening to the irrelevant sound effect: A behavioural and neuroimaging analysis of the processing of unattended speech. Cortex, 43, 124-134. (Nominated for the 2008 BPS Cognitive Section Prize) [Download]
Beaman, C. P. & Holt, N. J. (2007). Reverberant auditory environments: The effect of multiple echoes on distraction by “irrelevant” speech. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 1077-1090. [Download]
Beaman, C. P., & McCloy, R. (2007). From base-rate to cumulative respect. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 30, 256-257.
Frosch, C., Beaman, C. P., & McCloy, R. (2007). A little learning is a dangerous thing: An experimental demonstration of ignorance-driven inference. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 1329-1336. [Link to BPS Research Blog describing this article]
Harvey, A. J., & Beaman, C. P. (2007). Input and output modality effects in immediate serial recall. Memory, 15, 693-700.
McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P., Morgan, B., & Speed, R. (2007). Training conditional and cumulative risk judgments: The role of frequencies, problem-structure and einstellung. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 325-344. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (2006). The relationship between absolute and proportion scores of serial order memory: Simulation predictions and empirical data. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 92-98. [Download]
Hadlington, L., Bridges, A. M. & Beaman, C. P. (2006). A left-ear disadvantage for the presentation of irrelevant sound: Manipulations of task requirements and changing-state. Brain & Cognition, 61, 159-171. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (2006). Attention and change. Psychology Review, 12, 18-20.
Beaman, C. P. (2005). Auditory distraction from low-intensity noise: A review of the consequences for learning and workplace environments. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19, 1041-1064.
Beaman, C. P. (2005). Irrelevant sound effects amongst younger and older adults: Objective findings and subjective insights. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17, 241-265.
Beaman, C. P. & Harvey, A. J. (2005). Access to online resources: A case study. Psychology, Learning & Teaching, 5, 47-51.
Beaman, C. P. (2004). The irrelevant sound phenomenon revisited: What role for working memory capacity? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 30, 1106-1118. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (2002). Why are we good at detecting cheaters? A reply to Fodor. Cognition, 83, 215-220. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (2002). Inverting the modality effect in serial recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55A, 371-389.
Beaman, C. P. (2002). Review of "The nature of remembering". Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55A, 1047-1049.
Campbell, T., Beaman, C. P., & Berry, D. C. (2002). Auditory memory and the irrelevant sound effect: Further evidence for changing-state disruption. Memory, 10, 199-214.
Campbell, T., Beaman, C. P., & Berry, D. C. (2002). Changing-state disruption of lip-reading by irrelevant sound in perceptual and memory tasks. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 14, 461-474.
Beaman, C. P. (2001). The size and nature of a chunk. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 24, 118.
Beaman, C. P. (2000). Neurons amongst the symbols? Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 23, 468-470.
Beaman, C. P., & Morton, J. (2000). The effects of rime on auditory recency and the suffix effect. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 12, 223-242.
Beaman, C. P., & Morton, J. (2000). The separate but related origins of the recency and the modality effect in free recall. Cognition, 77, B59-B65. [Download]
Beaman, C. P. (1999). Memory's fragile power. Psyche, 5, http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v5/psyche-5-22-beaman.html
Beaman, C. P. & Jones, D. M. (1998). Irrelevant sound disrupts order information in free recall as in serial recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 51A, 615-636.
Beaman, C. P. & Jones, D. M. (1997). The role of serial order in the irrelevant speech effect: Tests of the changing-state hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 23, 459-471.
Beaman, C. P. & Holt, N. J. (in press). L'environnement sonore au travail. In L. Rioux, J. Le Roy, L. Rubens, & J. Le Conte (Ed.s). Le confort au travail : Que nous apprend la psychologie environnementale? Presses Universitaires de Laval.
McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P., & Smith, P. T. (2011). The relative success of recognition-based inference in multi-choice decisions. In: G. Gigerenzer, R. Hertwig, & T. Pachur (Ed.s). Heuristics: The foundations of adaptive behavior. pp. 351-361. New York: Oxford University Press.
Beaman, C. P. (2003). Working memory. Interview in: M. Cardwell, L. Clark & C. Meldrum. Psychology for AS-level. Collins Educational (Reprinted, 2004, in Cardwell et al., Psychology for A-level.)
Jones, D. M., Beaman, C. P., & Macken, W. J. (1996). The object-oriented episodic record model. In: S. E. Gathercole (Ed.) Models of short-term memory. Hove: Psychology Press. pp. 209-238.
Published Conference Proceedings:
Tetlow, R., Beaman, C. P., Elmualim, A., & Couling, K. (in press). Influencing energy efficient occupant behaviour through improved building and control design. To appear in 10th International Healthy Buildings Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
Beaman, C. P. (2012). A multinomial model of applying recognition to judge between multiple alternatives. In: N. Rußwinkel, U. Drewitz, J. Dzaack & H. van Rijn (Ed.s). Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling, (pp. 25-30). Universitaetsverlag der TU Berlin.
Beaman, C. P. (2012). Lexical access across languages: A multinomial model of auditory distraction. In: N. Miyake, D. Peebles & R. P. Cooper (Ed.s). Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World: Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 96-101). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society
Beaman, C. P., Marsh, J. E., & Jones, D. M. (2012). Analyzing the meaning of background speech is obligatory, distraction by meaning is not. Euronoise 2012, Prague (pp. 648-653) (Invited submission).
Menezes, A., Tetlow, R.M., Beaman, C.P., Cripps, A., Bouchlaghem, D., & Buswell, R. (2012) Assessing the impact of occupant behaviour on the electricity consumption for lighting and small power in office buildings. In: AEC2012, 7th International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Beaman, C. P., Smith, P. T. & McCloy, R. (2010). Less-is-more effects in knowledge-based heuristic inference. In: S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds). Cognition in Flux: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1014-1019). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Beaman, C. P., & Röer, J. P. (2009). Learning and failing to learn within immediate memory. In: N. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (Ed.s) Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Beaman, C. P., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2007). In: D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Phonological similarity effects without a phonological store: An individual differences model. Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp 89-94). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [Download]
Frosch, C., Beaman, C. P., & McCloy, R. (2007). Deciding the price of fame. In: D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp 1001-1005). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [Download]
Beaman, C. P., McCloy, R., & Smith, P. T. (2006). When does ignorance make us smart? Additional factors guiding heuristic inference. In: R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, (pp. 54-58). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. (Winner of the 2006 Cognitive Science Society prize for best high-level cognition model) [Download]
McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P., & Goddard, K. (2006). Rich and famous: Recognition-based judgment in the Sunday Times rich list. In: R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.) Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1801-1805). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [Download]
McCloy, R. & Beaman, C. P. (2005). Problem structure and format in training conditional and cumulative risk judgments. In: B.G. Bara, L. Barsalou, & M. Bucciarelli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1449-1454). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
McCloy, R. & Beaman, C. P. (2004). The recognition heuristic: Fast and frugal but not as simple as it seems. In: K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Regier (Ed.s). Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp 933-937). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Beaman, C. P. (2000). Computational explorations of the irrelevant sound effect in serial short-term memory. In: L. R. Gleitman & A. K. Joshi (Ed.s). Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 37-41). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Beaman, C. P., & Morton, J. (1998). Modelling memory-updating in 3- and 4-year olds. In: F. E. Ritter & R. M. Young (Ed.s) Cognitive Modelling II. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press. pp. 30-35.
Copyright disclaimer: Documents posted on this web site are provided as a means of ensuring timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work on a noncommercial basis. It is understood that anyone accessing these documents does so only for their own personal use and will not repost, reproduce or otherwise disseminate these documents without prior permission from the copyright holders.
Current & Ongoing Work (email me for details):
Beaman, C. P. Cognitive consistency within a society of mind
Beaman, C. P. Interesting and rewarding aspects of the problem-space.
Frosch, C., McCloy, R., Beaman, C. P. & Goddard, K. Time to decide
Parmentier, F. B. R., Elford, G., & Beaman, C. P. Varying content, not timing, of irrelevant speech stimuli disrupts verbal serial memory.
Riddell, P. M., Beaman, C. P., & Gibbons, W. Discriminating visual from phonological noise as determinants of reading difficulty.
Research supported by: AECOM, British Academy, Economic & Social Research Council, Engineering & Physical Science Research Council, Experimental Psychology Society, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust.
Jones, D. M., & Beaman, C. P. (2009-2013). Auditory distraction during semantic processing: A process-oriented view. ESRC grant ES/G027706/1, £392,512
British Psychological Society (BPS) – Associate
Memory & Cognition, Psychology Review
Cognitive Science 2011 (Boston, Ma., USA); Cognitive Science 2012 (Sapporo, Japan)
Reviewer for the following:
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology: Revue Canadienne de Psychologie Expérimentale; CHI; Cognition; Cognitive Development; Consciousness & Cognition
Irish Journal of Psychology
Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition; Journal of Environmental Psychology; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition; Journal of Human Evolution; Journal of Memory & Language
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology; Schizophrenia Research; Stress & Health
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, British Academy, Economic & Social Research Council, Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, Experimental Psychology Society, Israel Science Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council Canada, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.
Last Updated: 25th April 2013