Dr Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

University position

Senior Scientist and Programme Leader

Dr Michael Anderson is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute and MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit



Home page

http://www.memorycontrol.net/ (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


Dr. Anderson focuses on fundamental mechanisms of memory, attention, and cognitive control, and their interaction. A central observation is that memory, like other aspects of cognition and behaviour, poses problems of control. Dr. Anderson uses behavioural, haemodynamic (fMRI) and electrophysiological (EEG) neuroimaging to investigate the cognitive and neural mechanisms by which people suppress distracting and unwanted memories. A key focus is on the hypothesis that memory control engages mechanisms involved in suppressing prepotent responses, to down-regulate activity in neural structures that represent past experience, disrupting memory. The project is thus concerned with the role of frontally-mediated inhibitory control mechanisms in both incidental and motivated forgetting. These theoretical issues have direct translational relevance. The program studies healthy volunteers, young and older, and patients with disordered control over memory, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Research Focus



Cognitive Control

Prefrontal Cortex



Clinical conditions



Anxiety disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Depressive disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder


Behavioural analysis

Electroencephalography (EEG)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing



Tim Dalgleish

Rik Henson

Trevor Robbins

James Rowe

Jon Simons

United Kingdom

Chris Brewin Web: http://c.brewin@ucl.ac.uk


Teresa Bajo Web: http://www.ugr.es/~memory...

Silvia Bunge Web: http://bungelab.berkeley.edu/

Mikael Johansson Web: http://www.psychology.lu.se/o.o.i.s...

Elizabeth Kensinger Web: https://www2.bc.edu/~kensinel/

Mike Posner Web: http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/ionmain...

Benjamin Storm Web: http://tigger.uic.edu/~bstorm/

Anthony Wagner Web: http://memorylab.stanford.edu/

Key publications

Anderson MC, Ochsner KN, Kuhl B, Cooper J, Robertson E, Gabrieli SW, Glover GH, Gabrieli JD (2004), “Neural systems underlying the suppression of unwanted memories.” Science 303(5655):232-5 Details

Anderson, M.C., Bjork, R.A., & Bjork, E.L. (1994), “Remembering can cause forgetting: Retrieval dynamics in long-term memory. ” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 20, 1063-1087



Anderson MC, Reinholz J, Kuhl BA, Mayr U (2011), “Intentional suppression of unwanted memories grows more difficult as we age.” Psychol Aging 26(2):397-405 Details

Goodmon LB, Anderson MC (2011), “Semantic integration as a boundary condition on inhibitory processes in episodic retrieval.” J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 37(2):416-36 Details

Hulbert JC, Shivde G, Anderson MC (2011), “Evidence Against Associative Blocking as a Cause of Cue-Independent Retrieval-Induced Forgetting.” Exp Psychol :1-11 Details

Kuhl BA, Anderson MC (2011), “More is not always better: paradoxical effects of repetition on semantic accessibility.” Psychon Bull Rev 18(5):964-72 Details

Shivde G, Anderson MC (2011), “On the existence of semantic working memory: Evidence for direct semantic maintenance.” J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn Details


Garcia-Bajos E, Migueles M, Anderson MC (2009), “Script knowledge modulates retrieval-induced forgetting for eyewitness events.” Memory 17(1):92-103 Details

Paz-Alonso PM, Ghetti S, Matlen BJ, Anderson MC, Bunge SA (2009), “Memory suppression is an active process that improves over childhood.” Front Hum Neurosci 3:24 Details


Flegal KE, Anderson MC (2008), “Overthinking skilled motor performance: or why those who teach can't do.” Psychon Bull Rev 15(5):927-32 Details

Levy BJ, Anderson MC (2008), “Individual differences in the suppression of unwanted memories: the executive deficit hypothesis.” Acta Psychol (Amst) 127(3):623-35 Details


Levy BJ, McVeigh ND, Marful A, Anderson MC (2007), “Inhibiting your native language: the role of retrieval-induced forgetting during second-language acquisition.” Psychol Sci 18(1):29-34 Details


Johnson SK, Anderson MC (2004), “The role of inhibitory control in forgetting semantic knowledge.” Psychol Sci 15(7):448-53 Details


Anderson MC, Levy B (2002), “Repression can (and should) be studied empirically.” Trends Cogn Sci 6(12):502-503 Details

Levy BJ, Anderson MC (2002), “Inhibitory processes and the control of memory retrieval.” Trends Cogn Sci 6(7):299-305 Details