Nora Turoman, PhD

My journey in cognitive and developmental psychology and neuroscience started in 2014 when, as a Research Assistant at the BLIP lab at Nanyang Technological Unversity in Singapore, I first got interested in interactions between the sesnes and the links thereof with cognitive processes. I continued on the path of cross-sensory interactions in my MSc in Psychological Research at the University of Oxford, with the Crossmodal Research lab, where I developed my first independent research project. Next, I moved onto a PhD in Neuroscience, at the University of Lausanne, with the GROWN group (within the LINE lab), where I used behavioural methods, and classic and advanced EEG methods to study attentional control over objects of different sensory formats from early childhood to adulthood. In a subsequent postdoc at the WomCogDev lab at the University of Geneva, I investigated the effects of distractors of different sensory formats on working memory in children and in adults (with funding from the Jacobs Foundation), and deployed machine-learning analyses of EEG data to clarify children's working memory representations. Now, as a postdoc at the Cognitive Aging lab (within the CIGEV) at the University of Geneva, I aim to expand my interests in the interactions between sensory processes and working memory, by investigating how information of different sensory formats is represented in working memory over the lifespan. Apart from research work, I teach classes on the development of attention and on Open Science topics to Bachelors of Psychology students at the Univesrity of Geneva, pursue various science outreach projects, and promote Open Science practices.

Research Axes

1. Interactions between sensory and cognitive processes
I see working memory as an active, distributed system for temporary maintenance of incoming external information in the service of outgoing behavour. In this view, information representations must be flexible in order to account for both the diverse range of sensory features that said information can have at encoding into working memory, and the diverse range of behavioural outcomes that said information might ultimately be used for at recall. My main research interest lies in clarifying how information is represented during working memory maintenance depending on 1) the low-level sensory features of said information, and 2) the behavioural outcomes that said information is to be used for. Thus, my research niche occupies a theoretical space between, and inclusive of, cognition and perception.

2. Lifespan cognitive development
Studying the development of working memory is important for two reasons. Theoretically, because it underpins other important cognitive skills such as reasoning and problem-solving, and by extention their development. Pracically, because it is implicated in a host of school skills (literacy and numeracy, but also more basic things like following instructions), and influences educational outcomes. This is why my research has always had an important developmental aspect, involving schoolcildren in addition to young adults. However, development continues after young adulthood, and the practical implications of working memory extend to daily life skills that are important later in life (e.g., keeping appointments, taking one's medication, etc.) and the cognitive abilities that underlie such skills (namely, prospective memory). Thus, my future work will expand into old age, with the aim to investigate sensory-cognitive interactions over the lifespan.

3. Science outreach & Open Science
I believe that science is for everyone, across the science literacy spectrum. For everyone to be able to participate in science in a rigorous, high-quality manner, we must invest in making science transparent, accessible, and understandable. This is why I try to follow Open Science principles in my own research (links to open materials, data, preregistractions, etc. in Publications), and promote such practices in the wider community through my Editor role at the Journal for Reproducibility in Neuroscience, among other things. This is also why I have undertaken various science communication and education efforts in parallel with my research work (full list in Science Communication and Education). 

Team

Elodie Walter

Research Assistant 
Masters in Psychology
University of Geneva

Anae Motz

Research Assistant 
Masters in Neuroscience
University of Geneva

Publications

Registered reports

Turoman, N. , Vergauwe, E. (2023 ). The effect of Multisensory distraction on working memory: A role for task relevance? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 
Preprint: https://psyarxiv.com/fd9xh 
Preregistration: https://osf.io/z6jwt 
Open data, and materials: https://osf.io/y84ks/

Peer-reviewed publications

Turoman, N., Walter, E., & Vergauwe, E. (Under review). Children’s working memory is surprisingly robust to multisensory distraction. Developmental Science. 
Preprint: https://psyarxiv.com/q8epg
Open data, materials, and code: https://osf.io/h8sp5/ 


Turoman, N.,
Fiave, P.A., Zahnd, C., deBettencourt, M., & Vergauwe, E. (2024). Decoding the content of working memory in school-aged children. Cortex, 171, 136-152.
Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.02.10.527990v1.abstract 
Open data, materials, and code: https://osf.io/jeh67/ 

Turoman, N.*, Heyard, R.*, Schwab, S., Furrer, E., Vergauwe, E., & Held, L. (2023). Constructing and implementing PRECHECK: A checklist to evaluate preprints on COVID-19 and beyond. F1000 Research on Research 2022.
Preprint: https://osf.io/preprints/metaarxiv/nb928/
Open data, and supplementary materials: https://osf.io/8k9ac/ 

Tivadar, R. I., Arnold, R. C., Turoman, N., Knebel, J. F., & Murray, M. M. (2022). Digital Haptics Improve Speed of Visual Search Performance in a Dual-Task Setting. Scientific Reports, 12, 9728. 

Turoman, N., Hautekiet, C., Jeanneret, S., Valentini, B., & Langerock, N. (2022). Open and reproducible practices in developmental psychology research: The workflow of the WomCogDev lab as an example. Infant and Child Development, e2333, 1-17.
Pre-print: https://psyarxiv.com/73bwu/ 

Turoman, N., Tivadar, R. I., Retsa, C., Murray, M. M., and Matusz, P. (2021). Towards understanding how we pay attention in naturalistic visual search settings. NeuroImage, 244, 118556.
Pre-print: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.30.229617v4 

Turoman, N., Tivadar, R. I., Retsa, C., Maillard, A. M., Scerif, G., and Matusz, P. (2021). Uncovering the mechanisms of real-world attentional control over the course of primary education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 15(4), 344-353.
Pre-print: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.20.342758v2.abstract 

Turoman, N., Tivadar, R. I., Retsa, C., Maillard, A. M., Scerif, G., and Matusz, P. (2021). The development of attentional control mechanisms in multisensory environments. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 48, 100930. 
Pre-print: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.23.166975v3.abstract 

Matusz, P., Turoman, N., Tivadar, R., Retsa, C., and Murray, M.M. (2019). Brain and cognitive mechanisms of top-down attentional control in a multisensory world: Benefits of electrical neuroimaging. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(3), 412-430. 

Tivadar, R.I., Rouillard, T., Chappaz, C., Knebel, J.-F., Turoman, N., Anaflous, F., Roche, J., Matusz, P., and Murray, M.M. (2019). Mental Rotation of Digitally-Rendered Haptic Objects. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 13, 7. 

Tivadar, R.I., Retsa, C., Turoman, N., Matusz, P.-J., and Murray, M.M. (2018). Sounds enhance visual completion processes. Neuroimage, 179, 480-488. 

Turoman, N., Velasco, C., Chen, Y.-C., Huang, P.-C., and Spence, C. (2018). Symmetry and its role in the crossmodal correspondence between shape and taste. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80(3), 738-751. 
Open data, materials, and code: https://osf.io/qn593/ 

Turoman, N., and Styles, S. J. (2017). Glyph guessing for ‘oo’ and ‘ee’: spatial frequency information in sound symbolic matching for ancient and unfamiliar scripts. Royal Society Open Science, 4(9), 170882.
Open materials: https://osf.io/xufmd/ 

Turoman N, Merkley R, Scerif G and Matusz P (2017) How Do Kids and Grown-Ups Get Distracted in Everyday Situations? Frontiers for Young Minds. 5(8). 1-9. 

In the news

Science Communication & Education

Educational event for teachers at the Cycle d'orientation de Sécheron, Geneva, CH
(21 Oct, 2021)
Held a lecture and interactive workshop for secondary school teachers on how working memory disorders manifest in the classroom, and how to support children with such problems as part of the educational event entitled “Mon élève n’apprend pas: Troubles neuro-développementaux et apprentissages”. 

P RECHECK: A checklist to evaluate COVID-19 preprints 
(Apr 2021 - July 2022)
Created a teaching tool in the form of a checklist to help scientifically-literate non-specialists critically evaluate preprints. Prepared and taught classes for psychology students and journalists at the University of Geneva on scientific publishing and preprints. 

MedGIFT writing workshop 
(23 Jan, 2020)
Collaborated on a blog post hosted on Medium.com entitled ‘How to ‘crack the code’ of the developing brain?’ 

Mysteres de l’UniL, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, CH
(23 - 26 May, 2019)
Presented interactive workshop: ‘Visual Problems: See the World Through Their Eyes’ including a dyslexia simulation task (4 days, approx. 140 children – one of the most popular exhibits) 

Jacobs Foundation’s Blog on Learning and Development (BOLD) 
(15 May 2019)
Blog post entitled ‘How to bridge the gap between families and the science of learning’. 

L'Hôpital des Nounours, CHUV, Lausanne, CH
(17 - 18 Nov, 2018)
Informing participating families on research work (my own, and in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience) and recruiting interested families for ongoing research 

L'Hôpital des Nounours, CHUV, Lausanne, CH
(4 - 5 Nov, 2017)
Informing participating families on research work (my own, and in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience) and recruiting interested families for ongoing research 

Frontiers for Young Minds: Understanding Neuroscience 
(March - May, 2017)
Author on: Turoman N, Merkley R, Scerif G and Matusz P (2017) How Do Kids and Grown-Ups Get Distracted in Everyday Situations? Frontiers for Young Minds. 5(8). doi: 10.3389/frym.2017.00008 
Science mentor/reviewer on: Myers T (2017) Getting Out of the Laboratory to Make Experiments Real: Can Sports Fans Influence Muay Thai Judges? Frontiers for Young Minds. 5(13). 

Food Matters Live, ExCel, London, UK 
(17 - 19 Nov, 2015)
Exhibiting experimental research as part of the Food Sensorium Attraction 

S oundislands Festival (SI15), Nanyang Technological University and ArtScience Museum, SG
(18 - 23 Aug 2015)
Interactive live demonstration of previous research work 

Contact

Cognitive Aging Lab
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
University of Geneva 
Office 210, Chemin de Pinchat 22, 1227 Carouge, Switzerland

Email: nora (.) turoman (at) unige (.) ch