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Dr Tom Mercer

Dr Tom Mercer

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 321368
  • Location MC316
  • Faculty Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing
  • Institute Institute of Human Sciences
  • Areas of expertise

    Cognitive Psychology (Memory and Forgetting); 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, which I completed in 2011. I began working at the University of Wolverhampton in 2011 and am currently the Deputy Course Leader for our undergraduate psychology degrees and Senior Personal Tutor. 

I teach widely on the psychology courses and lecture on various modules including Research Methods in Psychology: Basic, Cognitive Psychology and Cognition and Individual Differences.

I am a member of the Applied Cognition and Individual Differences 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.

Memory, forgetting, 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.

Specificity and time course 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 a new project, supported by an Experimental Psychology Society grant, is exploring the nature of interfering events from the recent past. 


Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Chartered Psychologist with 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., & Barker, E. (2020). Time-dependent forgetting in visual short-term memory. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 32(4), 391-408. You can access this paper here.

McKeown, D., Mercer, T., Bugajska, K., Duffy, P., & Barker, E. (2020). The visual non-verbal memory trace is fragile when actively maintained but endures passively for tens of seconds. Memory & Cognition, 48(2), 212-225.

Mercer, T., & Jones, G. A. (2019). Time-dependent forgetting and retrieval practice effects in detailed visual long-term memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(6), 1561-1577.

Mercer, T. (2018). Retroactive interference in visual short-term memory. Experimental Psychology, 65(3), 139-148.

Fatania, J., & Mercer, T. (2017). Non-specific retroactive interference in children and adults. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 13(4), 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). Routledge.  

Gimenes, G., Pennequin, V., & Mercer, T. (2016). What is the best strategy for retaining gestures in working memory? Memory, 24(6), 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). Palgrave Macmillan. 

Mercer, T., & Duffy, P. (2015). The loss of residual visual memories over the passage of time. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68(2), 242-248. 

Mercer, T. (2015). Wakeful rest alleviates interference-based forgetting. Memory, 23(2), 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(4), 234-240.  

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2014). Decay uncovered in nonverbal short-term memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(1), 128-135. 

McKeown, D., & Mercer, T. (2012). Short-term forgetting without interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(4), 1057-1068. 

McKeown, D., Mills, R., & Mercer, T. (2011). Comparison of complex sounds across extended retention intervals survives reading aloud. Perception, 40(10), 1193-1205. 

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2010). Updating and feature overwriting in short-term memory for timbre. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72(8), 2289-2303. 

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2010) Interference in short-term auditory memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63(7), 1256-1265. 

Selected Conferences/Events

Groes, S., & Mercer, T. (2019, November). Proust in Transylvania. Event hosted at the East-West Cultural Passage Conference, Sibiu, Romania.

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.

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