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Participate in Memory Study

Preliminary results reported on Monday

Want to participate in a study on memory?

Right-handed attendees at ScienceWriters2014 have an opportunity to participate in a real, ongoing scientific experiment – and learn the preliminary results on Monday afternoon.

Per Sederberg, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University, is in the midst of collecting data for a study that will explore what makes a scientific talk memorable. In this experiment, Sederberg and his colleagues plan on exploring the differences in processing scientific information between novices (first-year undergraduates) and experts (science writers).

Sederberg hopes to get 10 to 20 science writers to participate in the experiment during the conference – and you can be one of them! Well, as long as you are right-handed (that is one of the requirements to participate).

Researchers will collect electroencephalogram (EEG) data while participants watch short 5-10 minute TED talks selected because of their high-quality and scientific content. After each talk participants will answer questions or write a short, one-paragraph, summary of the main findings reported.

This will allow the researchers to ask questions such as: Do scientific writers identify moments of significance different from those of novices? What aspects of a talk make information more relevant/memorable to all audiences? In what ways does the brain synchronize across individuals during critical moments of a talk?

Each session will take approximately 2 hours, including travel and EEG prep and cleanup. The researchers will shuttle participants from the conference hotel to the EEG lab at Ohio State University and then back. In order to comply with Institutional Review Board rules, all participants will receive $10 an hour for their time.

During his Monday afternoon talk at New Horizons in Science, Sederberg will include preliminary results he gathered from the science writers and the undergraduates.

To sign up to participate in the study, please go to:

Click on the orange “Book Now” button next to “EEG Study.” Skip ahead on the calendar to Oct. 17, 18 or 19 and choose a time to participate. If you have any questions, you can ask them on the "Leave a Message" box on the website. Or email Jeff Grabmeier at

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