Dr Tara Zaksaite
- tzaksaite at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
- Lecturer in Psychology
- Poole House P104c, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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Tara Zaksaite is a Cognitive Psychologist and a lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth University.
She gained her Ph.D. as part of the CogNovo Doctoral Training Centre in 2017, at the University of Plymouth. Since then, she has had two post-doctoral positions. In her first one, she was part of an interdisciplinary team at the Open University. This project explored the effectiveness of an online course, teaching financial skills to help people save money. Her subsequent post-doctoral position at the University of Plymouth investigated the cognitive determinants of individual differences in navigation. As part of this, she run a large-scale behavioural study. In this study, participants completed a battery of navigational tests both in the lab and in the real-world. In addition, participants completed a variety of tasks measuring general cognitive abilities such as attention to detail, immediate and delayed verbal memory, spatial working memory, and executive function. The aim of this study was to relate people’s performance on the cognitive tasks with their performance on the navigational measures... Linking the two allows us to see which cognitive abilities underlie difficulties (and strengths) in navigation. She is also applied machine learning to partition people’s data, to classify individual differences in navigation further. In parallel to this work, she has also been developing a research programme, which aims to clarify the links between anxiety and spatial memory for emotional information.
Her ongoing aim is to use lab-based experimental research to solve real-world problems. As part of her professional experience, she had the privilege to work in different types of research environments, including monodisciplinary and interdisciplinary, experimental and applied. Controlled laboratory conditions allowed her to reliably manipulate variables and understand their precise effects on people’s decisions and behaviour. However, it was difficult to immediately see how these findings can contribute complex real-world problems. Highly applied research on the other hand, offered immediate application and impact, however it was difficult to gauge the processes responsible for any changes. Therefore, her goal is to develop research that contributes to solving real-world problems but also retains the rigour of experimental approaches.more
Broadly my research relates to learning, memory, and attention. I am interested in how these are affected by systematic individual differences, such as those in anxiety.
Currently, I am working on two strands of research. One strand is focused on the relationship between anxiety and the spatial domain. There is an important spatial element to anxiety – for example, learning about safety cues does not necessarily transfer across different contexts. I would like to find out more about how space, context, and anxiety are interlinked, including in real-world navigation so that these findings can have applications to complex everyday behaviour.
The other strand of my research plan concerns how anxiety is maintained. It centres on how item similarity influences our experiences towards novel objects – process known as generalisation.
If you would like to pursue PhD studies related to this research, please contact me.
- Jones, P.M., Mitchell, C.J. and Zaksaite, G., 2022. Uncertainty and blocking in human causal learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.
- Zaksaite, T. and Jones, P.M., 2020. The redundancy effect is related to a lack of conditioned inhibition: Evidence from a task in which excitation and inhibition are symmetrical. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73 (2), 260-278.
- Jones, P.M. and Zaksaite, G., 2017. The redundancy effect in human causal learning: No evidence for changes in selective attention. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71 (8), 1748-1760.
- Zaksaite, T., Jones, P.M. and Mitchell, C.J., 2017. Creativity and Blocking: No Evidence for an Association. AVANT, 8, 135-146.