Department of Psychology - Ava Santos

Ava Santos - Detailed Bio

Ava Santos studies concepts and categories. She is interested in finding out how people mentally represent knowledge in relation to language, memory, and the environment. The theme underlying her research is that knowledge representation is grounded in the brain's modality-specific systems. She investigated the dual roles of word association and mental imagery in processing concepts and the significance of situated knowledge. In addition, she studied embodied cognition, which holds that cognitive processes are influenced by the body's interactions with the environment. Currently, she is conducting a series of experiments that examines the interaction between categorization and memory through a phenomenon called perceptual interference. This phenomenon shows that verbalizing or imaging nonverbal experiences result in a less accurate memory of the experiences. Perceptual interference has implications for eyewitness testimonies and other situations where it is essential to have accurate memories of nonverbal experiences.