Montana State University

UTEP professor lectures on time, sleep, memory and prejudice April 7 at MSU

March 23, 2016

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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A free public lecture about the effects of time and sleep on social memory will be given at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building at Montana State University.

Michael Zarate, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at El Paso, will lecture about "Time, Sleep and New Directions in Memory Consolidation and Social Perception."

Zarate studies memory consolidation and social perception, particularly the effects of time and sleep on social memory. He has found that, over time, newly learned information becomes integrated with existing memory structures. Once integrated, that information is then more readily accessible for non-conscious use and is more easily generalized to related targets. Zarate's research also shows that negative information is more readily consolidated, especially if that information concerns an outgroup member. Based on this finding, Zarate is now testing how prejudice develops over time and how those prejudiced thoughts are acted upon.

Zarate and his lab are developing the concept of "cultural inertia," which is the desire to avoid cultural change or a change in trajectories. Zarate's research also focuses on the social cognitive processes that underlie person and group perception. Along with students working in his lab, he is testing how memory consolidation processes influence the probability of applying stereotypes to others. All of these research programs have direct applications to intergroup relations along the U.S.-Mexico border.  

Zarate’s lecture is sponsored by the Department of Psychology and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

For more information about this and other L&S Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, please visit www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/speakers/or call 994-4288.

Jody Sanford (406)994-7791, jody.sanford@montana.edu