Top Photo

Alan Kersten

kersten
  • Department of Psychology
  • 561-297-0017
  • akersten@fau.edu
  • Boca Raton - BS-12, 208

Education

BS from University of Wisconsin-Madison (’89)
MS from the Georgia Institute of Technology (’93)
PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology (’95)

Research Interests

  • Language development, eyewitness memory for events, object and event categorization

Research Description

My research investigates the mental representation of motion events involving the actions and interactions of people and objects within particular environmental contexts. Because internal mental representations only reveal themselves through their influences on the various cognitive processes that act upon them, my research strategy has been to study event processing in a variety of different tasks that vary in their processing demands. My research has revealed similar phenomena across such disparate cognitive tasks as verb learning, eyewitness memory for events, and classification of the motions of animate creatures, perhaps revealing constraints from the event representations underlying these various types of processing. In particular, this research has revealed a distinction between motions internal to the object or person carrying them out, which I refer to as intrinsic motions, and motions with respect to the larger environment, which I refer to as extrinsic motions. In these various lines of research, intrinsic motions have been found to be closely tied to the identities of the objects carrying them out, suggesting that they are included in object representations. In contrast, extrinsic motions have been found to be easily separated from object information, suggesting that they are represented independently from object information in event representations.

Recent Publications

  • Earles, J.L., & Kersten, A.W. (in press). Why are verbs so hard to remember? Effects of semantic context on memory for verbs and nouns. Cognitive Science.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Earles, J.L. (2017). Feelings of familiarity and false memory for specific associations resulting from mugshot exposure. Memory & Cognition, 45, 93-104.
  • Earles, J.L., Kersten, A.W., Vernon, L.L., & Starkings, R. (2016). Memory for positive, negative, and neutral events in younger and older adults: Does emotion influence binding in event memory? Cognition & Emotion, 30, 378-388.
  • Kersten, A.W., Earles, J.L., & Berger, J.D. (2015). Recollection and unitization in associating actors with extrinsic and intrinsic motions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 274-298.
  • Kersten, A.W., Earles, J.L., & Upshaw, C. (2013). False recollection of the role played by an actor in an event. Memory & Cognition, 41, 1144-1158.
  • Goldstone, R.L., Kersten, A.W., & Carvalho, P. (2013). Concepts and categorization. In A. F. Healy & R. W. Proctor (Eds.), Experimental Psychology (pp. 607-630). Volume 4 in I. B. Weiner (Editor-in-Chief) Handbook of psychology (2nd edition).  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Kersten, A.W., Meissner, C.A., Lechuga, J., Schwartz, B.L., Albrechtsen, J.S., & Iglesias, A. (2010). English speakers attend more strongly than Spanish speakers to manner of motion when classifying novel objects and events. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 638-653.
  • Chin, S.L., & Kersten, A.W. (2010). The application of the Less is More hypothesis in foreign language learning. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 150-155). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Earles, J.L. (2010). Effects of aging, distraction, and response pressure on the binding of actors and actions. Psychology and Aging, 25, 620-630.
  • Earles, J.L., Kersten, A.W., Curtayne, E.S., & Perle, J.G. (2008). That’s the man who did it, or was it a woman? Actor similarity and binding errors in event memory. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15, 1185-1189.
  • Kersten, A.W., Earles, J.L., Curtayne, E.S., & Lane, J.C. (2008). Adult age differences in binding actors and actions in memory for events. Memory & Cognition, 36, 119-131.
  • Kersten, A.W., Smith, L.B., & Yoshida, H. (2006). Influences of object knowledge on the acquisition of verbs in Japanese and English-speaking children. In K. Hirsh-Pasek and R. Golinkoff (Eds.), Action meets word: How children learn verbs.Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
  • Kersten, A.W. (2006). Bridging the gap between perception and cognition. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 275-278.
  • Earles, J.L., Kersten, A.W., Más, B.B., & Miccio, D.M. (2004). Aging and memory for self-performed tasks: Effects of task difficulty and time pressure. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 59, P285-P293.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Earles, J.L. (2004). Semantic context influences memory for verbs more than memory for nouns. Memory & Cognition, 32, 198-211.
  • Kersten, A.W. (2003). Verbs and nouns convey different types of motion in event descriptions. Linguistics, 41, 917-945.
  • Goldstone, R.L., & Kersten, A.W. (2003). Concepts and categorization. In A. F. Healy & R. W. Proctor (Eds.), Experimental Psychology (pp. 599-621). Volume 4 in I. B. Weiner (Editor-in-Chief) Handbook of psychology.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Earles, J.L., & Kersten, A.W. (2002). Directed forgetting of actions by younger and older adults. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, 383-388.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Smith, L.B. (2002). Attention to novel objects during verb learning. Child Development, 73, 93-109.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Earles, J.L. (2001). Less really is more for adults learning a miniature artificial language. Journal of Memory and Language, 44, 250-273.
  • Earles, J.L., & Kersten, A.W. (2000). Adult age differences in memory for verbs and nouns. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 7, 130-139.
  • Goldstone, R. L., Steyvers, M., Spencer-Smith, J., & Kersten, A. (2000). Interactions between perceptual and conceptual learning. In E. Diettrich & A.B. Markman (Eds.), Cognitive dynamics: Conceptual and representational change in humans and machines. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Earles, J.L., & Kersten, A.W. (1999). Processing speed and adult age differences in activity memory. Experimental Aging Research, 25, 243-253.
  • Earles, J.L., Kersten, A.W., Turner, J.M., & McMullen, J. (1999). Influences of age, performance, and item relatedness on verbatim and gist recall of verb-noun pairs. Journal of General Psychology, 126, 97-110.
  • Kersten, A.W., Goldstone, R.L., & Schaffert, A. (1998). Two competing attentional mechanisms in category learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 1437-1458.
  • Kersten, A.W. (1998). An examination of the distinction between nouns and verbs: Associations with two different kinds of motion. Memory & Cognition, 26, 1214-1232.
  • Earles, J.L., & Kersten, A.W. (1998). Influences of age and perceived activity difficulty on activity recall. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 53B, P324-P328.
  • Kersten, A.W. (1998). A division of labor between nouns and verbs in the representation of motion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 127, 34-54.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Billman, D.O. (1997). Event category learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 23,.638-658.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Billman, D.O. (1995). The roles of motion and moving parts in noun and verb meanings. Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
  • Salthouse, T.A., & Kersten, A.W. (1993). Decomposing adult age differences in symbol arithmetic. Memory and Cognition, 21, 699-710.
  • Kersten, A.W., & Billman, D.O. (1992). The role of correlational structure in learning event categories. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale: Erlbaum. 

Scholarly Activities

Journal reviews

Consulting Editor for Memory & Cognition – March 2016 to Present

Ad-hoc reviewer for Acta Psychologica, Applied Cognitive Psychology, Applied Psycholinguistics, the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Child Development, Cognition, Cognitive Science, Developmental Review, Developmental Psychology, Developmental Science, Experimental Aging Research, Experimental Psychology, the Journal of Child Language, the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, the Journal of Cognitive Science, the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, the Journal of Memory and Language, Language Learning & Development, Memory & Cognition, the Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society, Psychology & Aging, PLOS ONE, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Grant proposal reviews

Ad-hoc reviewer for the National Science Foundation and for the Economic & Social Research Council.

Right Photo 1

Right Photo 2

Bottom Photo