S. Adam Smith, a graduate student in Cognitive Psychology, is the recipient of a 2018 Baughman Dissertation Research Award.

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC offers the Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award annually to two of the top researchers within the department. The purpose of this award is to promote and support innovative dissertation research in our department and to support award recipients in their completion of their dissertation projects.

Adam won for his dissertation titled “The Benefits (and Limitations) of Increased Immersion in Virtual Reality Environments on Episodic Memory Performance.” In virtual reality, the immersiveness of a virtual environment is often believed to enhance memory performance; however, research on the relationship between immersion and memory reveals a pattern that is not so clearly defined. To study this relationship further in his dissertation, Adam will systematically manipulate several individual characteristics of immersion and attempt to identify other factors which may mediate the relationship between immersion and memory in virtual environments.

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