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Department of Psychology

Staff

Dr Alexander Easton

Telephone: 43257 / 40121
Room number: L72 / D103f

(email at alexander.easton@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

I have research interests in the way in which different contexts affect learning and memory, and the mechanisms involved. Recently this has involved focusing on the way in which contexts influence memory, and using this as a way of developing an animal model of episodic memory.

Other interests include the way in which reward outcomes affect learning (for example, do we learn quicker for larger rewards than small rewards and do rewards drive learning faster than punishment)and the way in which social context affects learning and memory.

In addition I have a keen interest in the role of the cholinergic cells of the basal forebrain in learning and memory. These cells are intricately linked to the memory loss in Alzheimer's disease, and I have shown they may also be involved in other types of amnesia (such as medial temporal lobe amnesia).

International Collaboration

  • Dr Angeles Estevez, Universidad de Almeria, Spain
  • Dr Ginesa Lopez-Crespo, Departmento de Psicología y Sociología, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
  • Dr Mark Baxter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, USA

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Animal Models of Episodic Memory
  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
  • Learning and its relation to reward outcomes
  • Role of the Cholinergic Basal Forebrain in Learning and Memory
  • The ways in which social context modulate learning and memory

Teaching Areas

  • Classic Papers in Applied Psychology (14 hours/year.)
  • Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (5 hours/year.)
  • Introduction to Psychology 1 (10 hours/year.)
  • MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (6 hours/year.)
  • Neuropsychology (30 hours/year.)

Selected Publications

Books: edited

  • Dere, E, Easton, A, Nadel, L & Huston, JP (2008). Handbook of Episodic Memory. Handbook of Behavioural Neuroscience. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Easton, A. & Emery, N.J. (2005). The Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behaviour. Hove: Psychology Press.

Edited works: contributions

  • Easton, A & Eacott, M.J. (2008). A new working definition of episodic memory: replacing 'when' with 'which'. In Handbook of Episodic Memory. Dere, E, Easton, A, Nadel, L & Huston, JP Amsterdam: Elsevier. 185-196.
  • Easton, A. (2005). Behavioural flexibility, social learning and the frontal cortex. In The Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behaviour. Easton, A. & Emery, N.J. Hove: Psychology Press. 59-79.
  • Emery, N.J. & Easton, A. (2005). What is social cognitive neuroscience (SCN)? In The Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behaviour. Easton, A. & Emery, N.J. Hove: Psychology Press. 1-16.
  • Parker, A. & Easton, A. (2004). Cross-modal memory in primates: The neural basis of learning about the multisensory properties of objects and events. In The Handbook of Multisensory Processes. Calvert, G., Spence, C. & Stein, B.E. London: MIT Press. 333-342.
  • Easton, A., Parker, A. & Gaffan, D. (2002). Memory encoding and retrieval: The nature of interactions between the primate frontal lobe and posterior cortex. In The Cogntive Neuroscience of Memory: Encoding and Retrieval. Parker, A., Wilding, E.L. & Bussey, T.J. Hove: Psychology Press. 173-196.
  • Parker, A., Easton, A. & Gaffan, D. (2002). Memory encoding in the primate brain: The role of the basal forebrain. In The Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory: Encoding and Retrieval. Parker, A., Wilding, E.L. & Bussey, T.J. Hove: Psychology Press. 151-172.
  • Easton, A. & Gaffan, D. (2000). Amygdala and the memory of reward: the importance of fibres of passage from the basal forebrain. In The Amygdala: A Functional Analysis. Aggleton, J.P. Oxford: OUP. 569-586.

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Memory and brain function: Learning and Memory
  • Neuroscience: Learning and Memory
  • Psychology: Learning and Memory
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Learning and Memory

Selected Grants

  • 2011: NC3R Studentship (£90000.00 from NC3RS)
  • 2005: BBSRC grant "Episodic memory and memory for what, where and when in the rat"

Supervises