Moshe Naveh-Benjamin

Moshe Naveh-Benjamin
106 McAlester Hall
(573) 884-8044
Research Interests: 

***NOTE - I will be considering graduate student applications for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year. Interested candidates may email me to discuss their research interests and graduate school goals***

Research at our laboratory concerns fundamental issues regarding human memory processes and structures. One line of this research explores the interplay between attention and memory, with the intention of determining the role of attention as a part of Working Memory in encoding and retrieval processes. Another line of research investigates the mechanisms responsible for the adult-age changes in episodic memory. Finally, we are also interested in questions relating to the role of memory processes in real-life settings, including the relationships between the acquisition and retention of knowledge.

Adult-age changes in episodic memory

A major line of our research investigates the decline in memory efficiency that comes about with age. A major empirical and theoretical effort in our research over the years has been to understand age-related changes in encoding and retrieval processes. Recently, we have suggested an associative deficit framework that attributes an important part of age-related changes in episodic memory to the deficiency of older adults in creating and retrieving links between individual units of information. In recent studies we have shown that older adults can encode and retrieve the components of an episode reasonably well, but have problems in merging those components into a cohesive unit. In our current research, we are trying to provide convergent validity to this hypothesis, as well as discriminant validity, by contrasting and testing competing predictions made by the associative deficit hypothesis and by alternative hypotheses. Our plans are to further test specific predictions made by this hypothesis, as well as to identify the brain correlates associated with this deficit.

The interaction of attention, Working Memory and long-term memory

For several years now, we have been investigating the role of attention in memory processes and memory outcomes. Originally, this research focused on encoding processes, and the results showed complex relationships between the amount of attention paid at encoding and later memory performance. Recently, we have extended this research to memory retrieval processes and showed, together with our collaborators, that there are marked asymmetries between these processes and the processes of encoding. In particular, the damaging effect of withdrawal of attention is much greater at encoding than at retrieval. This suggests that “attentional resources” are needed during the learning of new information, but are less necessary during retrieval. Nonetheless, retrieval processes do exact a performance cost on the secondary task in a dual-task situation, so retrieval cannot be "automatic" as suggested earlier by several researchers.

Our view over the years has been that to understand encoding and retrieval processes, one must isolate their basic components. To this end, we have used online measures of performance to learn about the component processes of encoding and retrieval and to relate them to memory outcomes. In recent years, we have implemented this approach using secondary tracking tasks that allow temporal micro-level analysis, which permits the identification of several basic component processes at encoding and retrieval. These basic components, and the characteristic attentional costs associated with each, seem to predict both the patterns of vulnerability of encoding and retrieval to disruption in divided attention tasks, and the attentional costs incurred in these tasks. We are presently conducting further research along these lines, with the aim of generalizing this approach to normal subjects, as well as to other populations, including the aged and people who have suffered from brain damage.

The role of memory processes in real-life settings, including the relationships between acquisition and retention of knowledge

Over the years I have focused on applying concepts derived from basic memory and cognitive research to understanding real life behavior outside the laboratory, particularly in educational settings. Working with several collaborators, I have studied processes involved in the acquisition and retention of materials in formal settings. Moreover, I have developed several methods of measuring students knowledge structures, and evaluated how these structures change over time, what factors mediate their access and use, and how encoding and retrieval in real life interact with individual differences variables.

Equipment in the lab includes appropriate software packages to run the different types of experiments in the six testing rooms. We have also established a pool of community-dwelling older adults that participate in our experiments.

The current team in the lab includes 11 graduate and undergraduate students, and a postdoctoral fellow, and we welcome interested graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. More information about the Memory and Cognitive Aging Laboratory can be found at

Selected Publications: 

Representative Recent Publications


Naveh-Benjamin, M., and Ohta, N. (Eds.) (2012). Memory and aging: Current issues and future directions.. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Moulin, C.J.A., Naveh-Benjamin, M., and Souchay, C. (Eds.) (2009). Episodic memory and healthy aging. Hove, England: Psychology Press.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Moscovitch, M., and Roediger, H.L. III (Eds.) (2002). Perspectives on human memory and cognitive aging: Essays in honour of Fergus Craik. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.


Peterson, D.J., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (in press, Online). The Role of Aging in Intra-Item and Item-Context Binding Processes in Visual Working Memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Peterson, D.J., Schmidt, N.E., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (in press, Online). The Role of Schematic Support in Age-Related Associative Deficits in Short-Term and Long-Term Memory. Journal of Memory and Language.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Smyth, A. C. (2016). DRYAD and ADH: Further Comments on Explaining Age-Related Differences in Memory. Psychology and Aging, 31, 21-24.

Smyth, A.C., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2016). Can DRYAD explain age-related associative memory deficits? Psychology and Aging, 31, 1-13.

Mohanty, P., Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Ratneshwar, S. (2016). Beneficial Effects of Semantic Memory Support on Older Adults� Episodic Memory: Differential Patterns of Support of Item and Associative Information. Psychology and Aging, 31, 25-36.

Naveh-Benjamin, M. Associative deficit hypothesis. (2016). In S. Krauss Whitbourne (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging. Malden, Oxford: John Wiley and Sons.

Guez, J., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2016). Proactive interference and concurrent inhibitory processes do not differentially affect item and associative recognition: Implication for the age-related associative memory deficit. Memory, 24, 1091-1109..

Becker, N, Laukka, E.J, Kalpouzos, G, Naveh-Benjamin, M, Bäckman, L, Brehmer, Y. (2015). Structural brain correlates of associative memory in older adults NeuroImage, 118, 146-153.

Hara, Y., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2015). The role of reduced working memory storage and processing resources in the associative memory deficit of older adults: Simulation studies with younger adults. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22, 129-154.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Kilb, A., Maddox, G., Thomas, J., Fine, H., Chen, T., & Cowan, N. (2014). Older adults don't notice their names: A new twist to a classic attention task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 1540-1550.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Kilb, A. (2014). Age-related differences in associative memory: The role of sensory decline. Psychology and Aging, 29, 672-683.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J., Hara, Y., Brubaker, M.S., & Loewenschuss-Erlich, I. (2014). The effects of divided attention on encoding processes under incidental and intentional learning instructions: Underlying mechanisms? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 1682-1696.

Kilb, A., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2014). The Effects of divided attention on long-term memory and working memory in younger and older adults: Assessment of the reduced attentional resources hypothesis. In R.H. Logie and R.G. Morris (Eds.), Working Memory and Ageing. Pp. 48-78. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Brubaker, M.S., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2014). The effects of presentation rate and retention interval on memory for items and associations in younger adults: A simulation of older adults’ associative memory deficit. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 21(1), 1-26.

Guez, J., Cohen, J., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Shiber, A., Yankovsky, Y., Saar, R., & Shalev, H. (2013). Associative memory impairment in acute stress disorder: Characteristics and time course. Psychiatry Research, 209, 479-484.

Maddox, G.B., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Old, S., Kilb, A. (2012). The role of attention in the associative binding of emotionally arousing words. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,19, 1128-1134.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Kilb, A. (2012). How the Measurement of Memory Processes Can Affect Memory Performance: The Case of Remember/Know Judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38, 194-203.

Old, S.R., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2012). Age Differences in Memory for Names: The Effect of Pre-Learned Semantic Associations. Psychology and Aging, 27, 462-473.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Maddox, G., Jones, P., Old, S., & Kilb, A. (2012). The Effects of Emotional Valence and Gender on the Associative Memory Deficit of Older Adults. Memory & Cognition, 40, 551-566.

Chen, T., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2012). Assessing the Associative Deficit of Older Adults in Long-Term and Short-Term/Working Memory. Psychology and Aging, 27, 666-682.

Kilb, A., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2011). The Effects of Pure Pair Repetition on Younger and Older Adults' Associative Memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 706-719.

Guez, J., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Yankovsky, Y., Cohen, J., Shiber, A., & Shalev, H. (2011). Traumatic Stress is Linked to a Deficit in Associative Episodic Memory. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 260-267.

Bender, A. R., Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Raz, N. (2010). Associative Deficit in Recognition Memory in a Lifespan Sample of Healthy Adults. Psychology and Aging, 25, 940-948

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Shing, Y-L., Kilb, A., Werkle-Bergner, M., Lindenberger, U., & Li, S-C. (2009). Adult Age Differences in Memory for Name-Face Associations: The Effects of Intentional and Incidental Learning. Memory, 220-232.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Souchay, C., & Moulin, C.J.A. (2009). Editorial for the Special Issue on Episodic Memory and Healthy Aging. Memory, 1-5.

Gilchrist A.L., Cowan, N., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2009). Investigating the childhood development of working memory using sentences: new evidence for the growth of chunk capacity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104, 252-265.

Old, S. & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2008). Differential Effects of Age on Item and Associative Measures of Memory: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 23, 104-118.

Old, S. & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2008). Memory for People and their Actions: Further Evidence for an Age-Related Associative Deficit. Psychology and Aging, 23, 467-472.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Old, S. R. (2008). Aging and memory. In J. H. Byrne, H. Eichenbaum, R. Menzel, H. L. Roediger, & D. Sweatt (Eds.), Learning and memory: A comprehensive reference (pp. 787-808). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Kilb, A., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2007). Paying attention to binding: Further studies assessing the role of reduced attentional resources in the associative deficit of older adults. Memory & Cognition, 35, 1162-1174.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Cowan, N., Kilb, A., & Chen, Z (2007). Age-related differences in immediate serial recall: Dissociating chunk formation and capacity. Memory & Cognition, 35, 724-737.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Keshet Brav, T., & Levi, D. (2007). The Associative Memory Deficit of Older Adults: The Role of Efficient Strategy Utilization. Psychology and Aging, 22, 202-208.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J., & Sorek, S. (2007). The effects of divided attention on encoding processes in memory: Mapping the locus of interference. The Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 1-12.

Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2006). Adult-age differences and the effects of divided attention in young on episodic memory: A Common Associative Deficit Mechanism? In Binding in Human Memory: A Neurocognitive Approach, H.D. Zimmer, A. Mecklinger, and U. Lindenberger (Eds.),Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 627-656.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Kilb, A., & Fisher, T. (2006). Concurrent task effects on memory encoding and retrieval: Further support for an asymmetry, 34, 90-101. Memory & Cognition.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Craik, F.I.M., Guez, J., & Kreuger, S. (2005). Divided attention in younger and older adults: Effects of strategy and relatedness on memory performance and secondary task costs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 32, 520-537.

Li, S-C, Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Lindenberger, U. (2005). Aging neuromodulation impairs associative binding. Psychological Science, 16, 445-450.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J., Kilb, A., & Reedy, S. (2004). The associative deficit of older adults: Further support using face-name associations. Psychology and Aging, 19, 541-546.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J., & Shulman, S. (2004). Older adults’ associative deficit in episodic memory: Assessing the role of decline in attentional resources. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 1067-1073.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J., & Marom, M. (2003). The effects of divided attention at encoding on item and associative memory. Memory & Cognition, 31, 1021-1035.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Hossain, Z., Guez, J., & Bar-On, M. (2003). Adult-age differences in memory performance: Further support for an associative deficit hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 29, 826-837.

Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2002). The effects of divided attention on encoding processes: Underlying mechanisms. In Perspectives on Human Memory and Cognitive Aging. M. Naveh-Benjamin, M. Moscovitch, and H.L. Roediger, III (Eds.), Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Naveh-Benjamin, M. and Guez Y. (2000). The effects of divided attention on encoding and retrieval processes: Assessment of attentional costs and a componential analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 26, 1461-1482.

Craik, F. I. M., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Ishaik, G., & Anderson, N. D. (2000). Divided attention at encoding and retrieval: The effects of cognitive control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 26, 1744-1749.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Craik, F. I. M, Gavrilescu, D., and Anderson, N. (2000). Asymmetry between encoding and retrieval processes: Evidence from a divided attention paradigm and a calibration analysis. Memory & Cognition, 28, 965-976.

Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2000). Adult-age differences in memory performance: Tests of an associative deficit hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 26, 1170-1187.

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Craik, F.I.M., & Perratta, J. (2000). The effects of divided attention on encoding and retrieval processes: the resiliency of retrieval processes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 53, 609-626.