Dr Tom Mercer

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Email address: t.mercer2@wlv.ac.ukPhone number: 01902 01902 321368Location: MC316Faculty: Faculty of Education Health & WellbeingSchool/Institute: Institute of Human SciencesAreas of expertise:

Cognitive Psychology; Experimental Psychology



I completed both my BSc (Hons) Psychology degree and PhD (Cognitive Psychology) at the University of Leeds. My doctoral research investigated short-term auditory memory and forgetting and was supervised by Dr Denis McKeown and Dr Richard Wilkie. I completed my PhD in 2011 and began working at the University of Wolverhampton in the same year.

I teach widely on the psychology undergraduate degrees and lecture on various modules including Research Methods in Psychology: Basic, Cognitive Psychology and Cognition and Individual Differences. I am a member of the Cognition and Individual Differences (CID) research group and conduct experimental investigations into memory and forgetting. I am particularly interested in understanding how short-term representations are encoded, maintained and lost.

Research interests

Memory, forgetting, attention, mind wandering, experimental psychology.

Current Research Projects

Retroactive interference in visual working memory. On-going research is exploring how different types of distraction affect visual working memory. There is particular emphasis on the similarity between the to-be-remembered object and the distracting event.

Time-dependent forgetting in visual working memory. Several experiments are exploring the loss of visual working memories over unfilled delays. The purpose of these experiments is to compare trace decay and temporal distinctiveness theories of forgetting.

Specificity of proactive interference. Proactive interference occurs when old memories disrupt the ability to form new memories. Some research has highlighted a form of long-lasting proactive interference, and this project is exploring the nature of interfering events from the recent past.


Membership of professional bodies

Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Member of the Experimental Psychology Society.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education 

University of Wolverhampton 


PhD Cognitive Psychology 

University of Leeds

  • Thesis:“Memory and forgetting of complex sounds.”
  • Supervisors: Dr D. McKeown and Dr R. M. Wilkie. 
  • Funded by a University of Leeds Research Scholarship.

BSc Psychology (First Class Honours) 

University of Leeds



Mercer, T., & Jones, G. A. (2018). Time-dependent forgetting and retrieval practice effects in detailed visual long-term memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1747021818799697

Mercer, T. (2018). Retroactive interference in visual short-term memory. Experimental Psychology, 65, 139-148. doi:10.1027/1618-3169/a000401

Fatania, J., & Mercer, T. (2017). Non-specific retroactive interference in children and adults. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 13, 314-322. doi: 5709/acp-0231-6

Gimenes, G., Pennequin, V., & Mercer, T. (2017). Reasoning in everyday life. In N. Galbraith, D. Over, & E. Lucas (Eds.), The thinking mind: A Festschrift for Ken Manktelow (pp. 115-125). Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Gimenes, G., Pennequin, V., & Mercer, T. (2016). What is the best strategy for retaining gestures in working memory? Memory, 24, 757-765.

Mercer, T. (2016). Technology-assisted memory. In A. Attrill & C. Fullwood (Eds.), Applied cyberpsychology: Practical applications of cyberpsychological theory and research (pp. 74-88). Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mercer, T., & Duffy, P. (2015). The loss of residual visual memories over the passage of time. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 242-248.

Mercer, T. (2015). Wakeful rest alleviates interference-based forgetting. Memory, 23, 127-137.

Mercer, T. (2014). The loss of short-term visual representations over time: Decay or temporal distinctiveness? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 2281-2288.

Holden, L., & Mercer, T. (2014). Nature in the learning environment: Exploring the relationship between nature, memory and mood. Ecopsychology, 6, 234-240.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2014). Decay uncovered in nonverbal short-term memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 128-135.

McKeown, D., & Mercer, T. (2012). Short-term forgetting without interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38, 1057-1068.

McKeown, D., Mills, R., & Mercer, T. (2011). Comparison of complex sounds across extended retention intervals survives reading aloud. Perception, 40, 1193-1205.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2010). Updating and feature overwriting in short-term memory for timbre. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 2289-2303.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2010) Interference in short-term auditory memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 1256-1265.

Selected Conference Presentations 

Ahmed, S., Mercer, T., Hinton, D., & Darby, R. (2017, July). The impact of time and emotion on directed forgetting. Poster presented at the Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, University of Reading, UK.

Fisher, L., Mercer, T., & Darby, R. (2017, July). Examining the influence of mind wandering and interest on recall within a retroactive interference context. Poster presented at the Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, University of Reading, UK.

Logsdail, J., Dando, C. J., Ormerod, T. C., & Mercer, T. (2015, May). Retrieval-induced forgetting and eyewitness memory in a real world context. Poster presented at the BPS Annual Conference, ACC Liverpool, UK.

Mercer, T. (2014, July). Temporally distinct visual memories are not forgotten over the short-term. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, University of Newcastle.

Duffy, P., Mercer, T., Niechcial, M., & Plumb, A. (2014, July). Active maintenance and passive loss of short-term visual memories: Is there a role for temporal decay? Poster presented at the Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, University of Newcastle, UK.

McKeown, D., & Mercer, T. (2011). Auditory spectral memories persist in the absence of verbal rehearsal. Paper presented at the BPS Cognitive Psychology Section Annual Conference, Keele University, September 2011.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2010, July). Novelty-based interference in auditory short-term memory. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, University of Manchester, UK.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2009, September). Tracking auditory memories over thirty-two seconds. Paper presented at the BPS Cognitive Psychology Section 26th Annual Conference, University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Experience in industry

Lecturer in Psychology (September 2011 – August 2016)                       University of Wolverhampton


Demonstrator in Psychology (January – August 2011)                           University of Wolverhampton


Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (October 2007 – May 2010)                University of Leeds