Dr. Peter Graf is a professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist at the University of British Columbia.
Research interests include:
Memory Work: Prospective memory is the ability to formulate intentions, plans and promises and to execute them in the appropriate context. In our recent and ongoing empirical work we are asking the following kinds of questions: What mind/brain processes/structures are engaged for episodic prospective memory task performance? What mind/brain processes/structures differentiate between episodic prospective memory task performance and explicit episodic retrospective memory task performance? What mind/brain processes/structures underlie adult lifespan changes in the performance of episodic pro- and retro-spective memory tasks? What are the implications of failures in episodic pro- and retro-spective memory?
Usability Work: The overall goal of our usability research is to identify barriers to access — usability problems, as well as the factors that cause them, that are experienced by normal healthy elderly users or potential users of handheld communications and computing devices, such as cell phones and personal digital assistants. We view this work and a more complete understanding of usability problems and of their causes as a critical first step toward creating devices that are better adapted to the abilities and needs of the elderly, and toward eliminating the digital divide so that the benefits of the information society can be more equitably distributed. Our work in this domain is part of the Aphasia project, a UBC based undertaking focused on developing handheld computer based aids and assistive devices (e.g., an appointment calendar, an electronic cookbook) primarily for individuals with aphasia.
Personhood Work: One’s personhood is socially constructed and maintained. Personhood is often assumed to be linked with consciousness, consciousness of the self, rationality, intentionality, reciprocity, and the ability to communicate. By these assumptions, the personhood of the individual with dementia necessarily becomes questionable. Dementia-associated cognitive change causes a discontinuity between past, present, and future, and an afflicted individual is perceived as increasingly incapable of rational, intentional behavior and thought, and thus is assumed to loose his/her personhood. With funding from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the UBC-based Center for Research on Personhood and Dementia co-ordinates, facilitates and integrates transdisciplinary research to examine the potential of a personhood approach to dementia care practices in BC. The Memory and Cognition Lab participates in this endeavor primarily by investigating the link between personhood and higher level attention and cognitive functions in late adulthood and in persons with dementia.
Dr. Graf's secondary research areas are Developmental, Behavioural Neuroscience and Health.
Crease Lark, M. L., Graf, P., & Jamieson, R. K. (in preparation). Cue contamination: Execution of planned tasks disrupts concurrent processing.
Crease Lark, M. L., Graf, P., Lee, C. & Belchev, Z. (in preparation). Thanks for the memory failures: Priming memory fallibility and interpretations of prospective and retrospective memory failures.
Huang, S. T., Nguyen, T., & Graf, P. (2015). Last Semester’s Enduring Impressions. Canadian Social Science, 11(1), 17-23.
Graf, P. & Yu, M. (2015). Valenced Cues and Contexts Have Different Effects on Event-Based Prospective Memory. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0116953. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116953
Nagamatsu, L. S., Chan, A., Davis, J. C., Beattie, B. L., Graf, P., Voss, M. W. & Liu-Ambrose, T. (2013). Physical activity improves verbal and spatial memory in older adults with probably mild cognitive impairment: A 6-month randomized controlled trial. Journal of Aging Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/861893
Gosselin, C., Graf, P., Milev, R., Delva, N., Lawson, J. S., Enns, M., Gilron, I., Martin, B., Chan, P., Patry, S. & Jewell, M. (2013). “The Delivery of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Canada: Raising the Bar”. Journal of ECT, Vol. 29. Published ahead of print doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31827f135b
Meier. B., Rey-Mermet. A., Rothen. N. & Graf, P. (2013). Recognition memory across the lifespan: The impact of word frequency and study-test interval on estimates of familiarity and recollection. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, #787. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.0078
Metzak, P., Meier, B., Graf, P. & Woodward, T. (July 18 2013). More than a surprise: The bivalency effect in task switching. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2013.832196.
Gilron, I., Delva, N. J., Graf, P., Chan, P., Enns, M., Gosselin, C., Jewell, M., Lawson, J. S., Martin, B., Milev, R. & Patry, S. (2012). A Canadian Survey of Perianesthetic Care for Patients Receiving Electroconvulsive Therapy. Journal of ECT, 28, 219 – 224.
Leung, R., Tang, C., Haddad, S., McGrenere, J., Graf, P. & Ingriany, V. 2012. How older adults learn to use mobile devices: Survey and field investigations. ACM Trans. Access. Comput. 4, 3, Article 11 (December 2012), 33 pages. DOI 10.1145/2399193.2399195
Graf, P. (2012). Prospective memory: Faulty brain, flaky person. Canadian Psychology, 53, 7-13.
Cuttler, C., McLaughlin, R. J. & Graf, P. (2012). Mechanisms underlying the link between cannabis use and prospective memory. Plos One, 7(5), 10 pages. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036820
Penningroth, S. L., Graf, P. & Gray, J. M. (2012). The effect of a working memory load on the intention-superiority effect: Examining three features of automaticity. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26, 441-450. DOI 10.1002/acp.2817
Cuttler, C. , Graf, P., Pawluski, J. & Galea, L. (2011), Everyday life memory deficits in pregnant women. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 27-37.
Graf, P. (2011), Special issue editorial: Prospective memory in 2010. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1-2.
Leung, R., McGrenere, J. & Graf, P. (2011). Age-related differences in the initial usability of mobile device icons. Behaviour & Information Technology, 30, 629-642
- Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science Richard C. Tees Distinguished Leadership Award (2014)
- Killam Faculty Research Prize (1993)