Shayna Rosenbaum

Shayna Rosenbaum headshotPhD (Toronto)
Associate Professor
Website: Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Research areas: Brain, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Processes, Dementia, Elderly, Memory, Behavioural Sciences, Assessment, Neuroscience

Research Focus

Research in our laboratory examines how memories acquired long ago are represented in the brain. Damage to the hippocampus results in severe amnesia, but there is controversy surrounding the specific types of memory that are compromised. Some believe that the hippocampus is always necessary for finding one’s way in an environment (spatial memory), whereas others view this structure as necessary for re-experiencing the details of personal life events (episodic memory). Still, others believe that it plays a time-limited role in all sorts of declarative memories, similar to its role in representing knowledge about the world that is not tied to any one event (semantic memory).

Our work addresses the following questions:

1. What is the role of the hippocampus and other memory structures in storing and retrieving very old memories? For example, is the hippocampus always necessary for re-experiencing the details of personal life events?

2. How is spatial memory related to memory for personal events and for facts?

3. How does reconstructing past autobiographical episodes relate to non-mnemonic abilities, such as imagining events that have never occurred or deciphering other people’s current mental states?

Methods of investigation include neuropsychological testing of patients with damage to the medial temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex, and structural and functional MRI of patient and healthy populations. Findings from this research will hopefully add to our understanding of the relationship among different types of memory and their breakdown following brain damage.

Representative publications:

Herdman KA, Calarco N, Moscovitch M, Hirshhorn M, Rosenbaum RS. (2015).
Impoverished descriptions of familiar routes in three cases of
hippocampal/medial temporal lobe amnesia. Cortex, 71, 248-263.

Kwan D, Craver CF, Green L, Myerson J, Gao F, Black SE, Rosenbaum RS. (2015).
Cueing the personal future to reduce discounting in intertemporal choice: Is
episodic prospection necessary? Hippocampus, 25, 432-443.

Rosenbaum RS, Gao F, Honjo K, Raybaud C, Olsen RK, Palombo DJ, Levine B, Black
SE. (2014). Congenital absence of the mammillary bodies: a novel finding in a
well-studied case of developmental amnesia. Neuropsychologia, 65, 82-87.

Rosenbaum RS, Gilboa A, Moscovitch M. (2014). Case studies continue to
illuminate the cognitive neuroscience of memory. Annals of the New York Academy
of Sciences, 1316, 105-133.

Dissociations in future thinking following hippocampal damage: evidence from
discounting and time perspective in episodic amnesia.

Kwan D, Craver CF, Green L, Myerson J, Rosenbaum RS. (2013). Journal of
Experimental Psychology: General, 142, 1355-1369.

Ryan JD, Moses SN, Barense M, Rosenbaum RS. (2013). Intact learning of new
relations in amnesia as achieved through unitization. Journal of Neuroscience,
33, 9601-9613.

Rosenbaum RS, Winocur G, Binns MA, Moscovitch M. (2012). Remote spatial memory
in aging: all is not lost. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 4, 25.

Rabin JS, Rosenbaum RS. (2012). Familiarity modulates the functional
relationship between theory of mind and autobiographical memory. Neuroimage,
62, 520-529.

Rosenbaum RS, Stuss DT, Levine B, Tulving E. (2007). Theory of mind is
independent of episodic memory. Science, 318, 1257.