My name is Christopher Madan and I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Elizabeth Kensinger at Boston College. If you want to email me, I can be contacted at:

Memory & Decision Making

I study memory and decision making. I am particularly interested in what makes some experiences more memorable than others and how this can manifest in decision making. I ask these questions using a combination of cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and computational modeling approaches.

Being able to automatically prioritize memories that are relevant to future behavior is the fundamental purpose of memory. In our everyday lives, some memories are encoded and retrieved more readily, such as where we last left our car keys, the location of the nearest grocery store, and the experiences we had on our last vacation. Though these are distinct, domain-specific effects in themselves, they are all instances of some experiences being more memorable than others--I am interested in what makes memories last. Furthermore, biases in memory are only relevant if they manifest in future behavior, such as our future choices and decisions. This can be particularly relevant in the case of reward-related memories, where biased memories can lead to riskier gambling behavior.

Recent Publications

Caplan, J. B.*, & Madan, C. R.* (in press). Word-imageability enhances association-memory by recruiting hippocampal activity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Madan, C. R.*, Shafer, A. T.*, Chan, M., & Singhal, A. (in press). Shock and awe: Distinct effects of taboo words on lexical decision and free recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. doi:10.1080/17470218.2016.1167925

Madan, C. R.*, Chen, Y. Y.*, & Singhal, A. (2016). ERPs differentially reflect automatic and deliberate processing of the functional manipulability of objects. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 360. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00360

Madan, C. R. (2016). Prism: Multiple spline regression with regularization, dimensionality reduction, and feature selection. Journal of Open Source Software, 31. doi:10.21105/joss.00031

Madan, C. R., & Kensinger, E. A. (2016). Cortical complexity as a measure of age-related brain atrophy. NeuroImage, 134, 617-629. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.029

An Introduction to MATLAB for Behavioral Researchers

Over the years I have trained many colleagues in using MATLAB for behavioral analyses. In doing so, I noticed many of the same issues arise, so I decided to write a book to guide people in learning MATLAB, beginning from no prior programmming experience. By using data from previously published papers and an incremental approach, I begin with the basics of conducting behavioral analyses in MATLAB to making publication-quality figures, writing your own functions, and advice on debugging. Some more advanced topics, such as basic eyetracking analyses, are also discussed.

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