Professor Fergus Craik FRS
Fergus Craik is a psychologist who changed the way we think about memory. His 1972 proposal, with Robert Lockhart, of the concept of ‘levels of processing’ had far-reaching consequences that he has since been able to explore through brain imaging, focusing particularly on how memory changes with age.
Fergus proposed that memories endure if we bring into play ‘deep’ processes, such as thinking about meaning, at the time they are formed. Looking at how older people retrieve memories has enabled Fergus to distinguish between memories that are easily triggered by context and memories we have to dredge up through our own efforts.
His studies using neural imaging suggest a key role for the frontal lobes in ‘deep’ memory processing. Fergus continues to apply insights from his studies in behavioural strategies for improving memory in older people. He has received many marks of recognition, including the FABBS Foundation’s roll of honour.