Taylor Curley

Doctoral Student in Psychology · Georigia Institute of Technology · (336) 466-7565 · taylor.curley@gatech.edu

I am a doctoral student of Psychology at Georgia Tech, where I am a part of the Adult Cognition Lab (ACL). My research, which uses both behavioral and modeling techniques, focuses on how memory and memory decisions change with age.



Aging & Metamemory

When we think about aging, we commonly hark upon declines in declarative episodic memory, specifically in explicit recall. While it is true that normally-aging older adults have greater difficulty with explicit recall than do younger adults, they are still able to provide accurate decisions about their memory that allow them to function normally in their daily lives. With Dr. Chris Hertzog and the Adult Cognition Lab (ACL), I study the accuracy of memory judgments across the lifespan and the strategies that can aid individuals in making decisions about their own knowledge, even when specific information cannot be directly recalled. Recently, we have been examining feelings-of-knowing (FOKs), which scale confidence that an individual will be able to recognize an item that they cannot currently recall and, in turn, allows researchers to make inferences about that individual's access to diagnostic information in the absense of explicit memory.

Judgments & Monitoring

A major focus of the research that I conducted as an undergraduate at UNCW as well as a master's student at Villanova, and continue to research at Georgia Tech, is on understanding metacognitive monitoring (monitoring the status of the cognitive system) during experimental tasks. Specifically, how well can individuals judge their current level of knowing of to-be-remembered information? How accurate are their predictions of remembering that information in the future? With the Adult Cognition Lab, I use predictive judgments of if an item will be recognized in the event that it cannot be recalled (called feeling-of-knowing [FOK] judgments) to assess metacognitive accuracy in both young and older adults.

Utilization of Monitoring

Although they largely escape our awareness, we use metacognitive monitoring constantly during learning to determine how to study information that needs to be remembered at a later time as well as how much time we should spend studying that information. A large focus of my research on the relationship between monitoring and control is on the decisions that learners make during studying when introduced to certain task manipulations, such as the difficulty of the items being studied or the wording of the instructions that are presented before learning even begins. Much of my research with Dr. Toppino at Villanova was concerned with these issues, although we are continuing to explore how utilization of monitoring differs across the lifespan at Georgia Tech.

Computational Modeling

Metacognition & Hypothesis Generation

Research in cognitive psychology indicates that individuals do not have direct (or "privileged") access to the contents of their own memory. Cues diagnostic of information of interest, however, are available, though these cues may or may not be accessible at the time of inference. Furthermore, inferential cues can be overwhelmed by cues that are not diagnostic of a true memory state, such as fluency of retrieval or item associativeness. In order to understand this "multiple-cue utilization" (MCU) hypothesis of metacognition, the ACL, along with Dr. Rick Thomas and David Illingworth of the Decision Processes Lab (DPL), are modifying an existing cognitive architecture (MINERVA) to model how memory decisions are made based on the integration of multiple memory cues.

Vowel Category Formation

Infants face great acoustic developmental challenges - not only must they learn to distinguish speech tokens (i.e., individual vowel and consonant sounds), but they must do so while encountering high variability in these tokens between speakers. A large source of speaker invariance, for example, comes from differences between genders, with female speaker tokens registering at higher levels on the acoustic spectrum than male speakers. Despite this lack of invariance, infants readily learn differences between vowel sounds through observing their stochastic properties. Led by Dr. Joe Toscano at Villanova University, we are developing a computational model of vowel category learning in infants that both capitalizes on statistical learning and accounts for speaker variability.

Battlefield Performance

Predicting how soldiers will perform on the battlefield is imperative to preditive military tactics. What is relatively uncertain, however, is how constellations of moderating varibles, such as fatigue and stress, impact larger cognitive and physical systems. During my time as an intern at Charles River Analytics, I helped research and develop intelligent software to help answer these questions in realistic simulations of individual soldiers.



Georgia Institute of Technology

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Maior: Cognitive Aging
Minor: Quantitative Methodology

Advisor: Chris Hertzog, PhD
Adult Cognition Lab (ACL)

August 2015 - Current

Villanova University

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology

Thesis Advisor: Thomas Toppino, PhD
Memory and Cognition Lab
Word Recognition and Auditory Perception (WRAP) Lab

August 2013 - May 2015

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Departmental Honors)
Bachelor of Arts in English

Thesis Advisor: Jeffrey Toth, PhD
Aging and Cognitive Training (ACT) Lab

August 2008 - May 2012


  • Hertzog, C., Curley, T., & Dunlosky, J. (2020). Are Age Differences in Recognition-based Retrieval Monitoring an Epiphenomenon of Age Differences in Memory? Psychology and Aging.

  • 2019
  • Hertzog, C. & Curley, T. (2019). Metamemory and Cognitive Aging. Book chapter for The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology, Oxford University Press.

  • Bauchwitz, B., Curley, T., Kwan, C., Niehaus, J., Pugh, C., & Weyhrauch, P. (2019). Modeling framework used to analyze and describe junctional tourniquet skills.
    Journal of Military Medicine.

  • Presentations
  • Curley, T., Castro, N., Hertzog, C. & Dunlosky, J. (May, 2019). Exploring the effects of encoding and semantic network properties on memory for related items.
    Presentation at the 2019 Context and Episodic Memory Symposium (CEMS) in Philadelphia, PA.

  • Curley, T., Castro, N., & Hertzog, C. (February, 2019). Cohort, age, and historical effects on semantic categories. Spoken presentation at the Cognitive Aging
    Brown Bag at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • 2018
  • Castro, N., Hertzog, C., & Curley, T. (November, 2018). Semantic network structure and level of processing: Implicit and explicit representations influence
    recall and recognition of items studied in the presence of categorically-related words. Poster presentation at the 59th Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting
    in New Orleans, LA.

  • Hertzog, C., Curley, T., & Dunlosky, J. (November, 2018). Distinctiveness Encoding Reduces Semantically-Generated False Memories in Younger and
    Older Adults. Spoken presentation at the Gerontological Society of America 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, MA.

  • Lynn, S., Curley, T., & Weyhrauch, P. (July, 2018). Modeling Perceptual Judgement in Believable Agents: A Signal Detection Approach. Proceeding of the
    16th Annal Meeting of the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM) in Madison, WI.

  • Curley, T., Hertzog, C., & Douglass, S. (April, 2018). The effects of judgment scaling on feeling-of-knowing accuracy in younger and older adults.
    Poster presentation at the Cognitive Aging Conference in Atlanta, GA.

  • Curley, T. (March, 2018). Aging and Distinctiveness Encoding: Implications for Metacognitive Retrieval Monitoring. Talk presented at the Cognitive
    Aging Brown Bag at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • Curley, T. (January, 2018). Effects of distinctiveness encoding and item typicality on metacognitive retrieval monitoring. Spoken presentation at
    the North Georgia Regional Memory Meeting (NGRAMM).

  • 2017
  • Curley, T. & Bauchwitz, B. (December, 2017). Correlated changes in brain functioning and cognitive performance are marked by individual differences.
    Spoken presentation at the IEEE Data Bank Challenge at Charles River Analytics, Inc. in Cambridge, MA.

  • Hertzog, C., Curley, T., & Dunlosky, J. (November, 2017). Effects of a Distinctiveness Manipulation on Metacognitive Retrieval Monitoring.
    Spoken presentation at the Cognitive Aging/Cognitive Behavioral Sciences Brown Bag at Georgia Tech.

  • Hertzog, C., Curley, T., & Dunlosky, J. (November, 2017). Effects of a Distinctiveness Manipulation on Metacognitive Retrieval Monitoring.
    Spoken presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society.

  • Bauchwitz, B. & Curley, T. (August, 2017). Modeling junctional tourniquet skills from empirical data. Spoken presentation at the Military
    Health Research Symposium (MHRSRS)

  • 2016
  • Curley, T. & Hertzog, C. (October, 2016). Aging and feelings-of-knowing. Talk presented at the Cognitive Aging Brown Bag at the Georgia
    Institute of Technology.

  • Curley, T. (2016). Effects of framing practice tests as restudy on final recall. (Master’s thesis). Villanova University, Villanova, PA.

  • 2015
  • Toscano, J. & Curley, T. (November, 2015). Statistical learning of vowel categories: a computational approach. Poster presentation at the
    Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society.

  • 2014
  • Heslin, K.A., Curley, T.M., Jackiewicz, M.K., Flowers, C.S., Phelan, H.A., & Toppino, T.C. (November, 2014). Influence of Feedback on Metacognitive
    Decisions about Spacing Practice Tests: A Framing Effect? Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society.

  • 2013
  • Northcutt, C.A., Toth, J.P., Daniels, K.A., & Curley, T.M. (February, 2013). I’ve never been too good with names but I remember faces: Memory for
    faces and names. Poster presentation at the North Carolina Cognitive Conference, Raleigh, NC

  • 2012
  • Metacognitive accuracy for face-name pairs using a dual-process approach to judgments of learning. (Undergraduate thesis). University of North
    Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC.

  • Curley, T. & Toth, J. (March, 2012). Metacognitive accuracy for face-name pairs using a dual-process approach to judgments of learning. Poster
    presentation at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference, Norfolk, VA.

  • Tutorials
  • T-tests in R
  • One-way ANOVAs in R
  • Two-way ANOVAs in R
  • Goodman-Kruskal gamma correlations in R

  • Grant Money & Awards
  • Microsoft Azure Research Award - March-December 2018 ($2,000)
  • IEEE Data Bank Competition 2017 (Cambridge, MA) - 3rd Place ($200)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant Recipient (T32; 2017-2019)
  • Graduate Travel Award ($1,500) – The International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (2016)
  • Graduate Travel Award ($1,000) – The Psychonomic Society (2015)
  • Graduate Studies Student Service Award, Villanova University (2013-2014 & 2014-2015)
  • Graduate Studies Travel Award ($1,500), Villanova University (2014)

  • Content and Work in the Media
  • Psychonomic Society Content: "Modeling the genius of babies: Guidelines for simulations of basic rule learning"
  • Psychonomic Society Content: "Why we don’t serve 'cheese and macaroni': Investigating directionality of relationships between words"
  • Psychonomic Society Content: "Context is everything—but what is context? Disentangling the 'what' from the 'when'"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Older Adults Monitor Their Memory More Than Young Adults"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "What Can the Science of Word Networks Tell Us About Dementia?"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Worried About Your Memory? Consider Attentional Refreshing"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Forgetting Isn't Always Curvilinear"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "In Science, Missing the Target Is Okay"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Annoying Drug Advertisements Are More Helpful Than You Think"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "A Roadmap for Misinformation and Perceived Truth"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Can the Content of Our Emails Hinder Future Memory?"
  • Psychonomic Society Featurette: "Adversarial Collaborations: Turning Disagreements Into Collaborations"
  • Phys.org: "What's a Mind Without a Body?"
  • CRA Press Release: "Tourniquet Master Training"
  • CRA Publication: "Modeling Junctional Tourniquet Skills from Empirical Data"


Programming Languages & Tools
  • R/RStudio
  • Python
  • Mathematica
  • MPlus
  • EQS
  • Visual Basic
  • SPSS
  • LaTeX

Specialized Methodology
  • Behavioral Statistics & Experimental Design
  • Cognitive Computational Modeling
  • Multivariate Statistics
  • Structural Equation Modeling
  • Longitudinal Data Analysis


When I am not working on my graduate studies, I enjoy spending my free time outside playing tennis. You can often find me playing tennis at Piedmont Park here in Atlanta in a 4.0 singles flex league or with my ALTA doubles team. I also enjoy hiking in the Appalachian Mountains when the weather is nice.

In the rare moments in which I'm neither working nor playing tennis, I enjoy reading, learning about new data analysis/programming technologies, watching Netflix, and (unsuccessfully) modifying simple robots.