Josefa Pandeirada

Josefa Pandeirada
Integrated Member
Cognition Team

Josefa Pandeirada’s research has been motivated by a functional perspective which prompts the question “what is memory for?” The search for the answers to this question has been inspired by evolutionary psychology, particularly by considering the adaptive problems humans faced throughout evolution and that likely shaped the way memory works. Ultimately, humans faced numerous challenges related to their survival and chances of reproducing. Empirical evidence has been collected over the last 10 years that led to the proposal of a set of mnemonic phenomena. The survival processing effect refers to increased retention for information that is processed in the context of a survival situation. Animates, which play an important role in our lives (e.g., as predators, prey, potential mates or rivals), are also better remembered than inanimates – the animacy effect. People also remember information particularly well when a potential for contamination is involved. The reasoning underlying this contamination effect was that peoples’ chances of survival would be greater if they effectively retained potential sources of contamination (e.g., sick people and/or objects in contact with them). Finally, memory also seems to work in a very effective way (particularly for faces) when the to-be-remembered information was previously considered in a reproduction context. These phenomena integrate the general Adaptive Memory Framework, which hopefully will inspire the discovery of other mnemonic tunings.

Main 5 publications

Pandeirada, J. N., Fernandes, N. L., & Vasconcelos, M. (2020). Attractiveness of Human Faces: Norms by Sex, Sexual Orientation, Age, Relationship Stability, and Own Attractiveness Judgements. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00419
Nairne, J.S., Pandeirada, J. N. S., & Fernandes, N. L. (2017). Adaptive Memory. In Byrne, J. H (Ed.). Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference (Second Edition) (p. 279-293). Elsevier: Oxford.
Fernandes, N. L., Pandeirada, J. N. S., Soares, S. C., & Nairne, J. S. (2017). Adaptive memory: The mnemonic value of contamination. Evolution and Human Behavior, 38, 451–460. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.003
Nairne J. S, Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2016). Adaptive memory: The evolutionary significance of survival processing. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 496-511. doi:10.1177/1745691616635613
Nairne, J. S., VanArsdall, J. E., Pandeirada, J. N. S., Cogdill, M., & LeBreton, J. M. (2013). Adaptive memory: The mnemonic value of animacy. Psychological Science, 24, 2099-2105 doi:10.1177/0956797613480803