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  Manda Fischer
  Ph.D. Candidate Psychology
University of Toronto (Present)
 
 
 

M.A. Psychology Cognitive Science
University of Toronto (2019)

 

Honours BSc. Psychology
McGill University (2018)

 
  D.E.C. Honours Health Sciences
Vanier College, Montréal, QC (2015)
   
   
   
  Emails:
  manda.fischer@mail.utoronto.ca
   
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RESEARCH BACKGROUND
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What is the relation between awareness, attention, and memory? Currently, I am investigating the dynamic interplay between attention and memory. My work uses EEG and behavioural measures to examine how auditory experience and memory can optimize attention and performance during online perception of real-world scenes. Specifically, I am interested both in how everyday auditory experience and implicit memory can bias spatial attention in complex scenes and in how these effects appear in different populations, for example, in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and in congenitally blind individuals. This area of research is fascinating, and constantly pushes me to see the complexity of things.

My background in psychoacoustics and auditory cognitive neuroscience includes, also, examinations of 1) the role of timbre and attention in the perceptual organization of sound (auditory scene analysis) and 2) the neural encoding and cross-modal plasticity of audio-motor sequences in music learning.

My work is co-supervised by Dr. Morris Moscovitch and Dr. Claude Alain.

 
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RELEVANT EXPERIENCE:
-2018 - present  
2018 - present

Graduate researcher: Attention & Memory, University of Toronto

Thesis: Does incidental auditory learning facilitate memory-guided attention? A behavioural and electroencephalogram (EEG) study
Supervisors: Dr. Morris Moscovitch and Dr. Claude Alain

  • Researched the neural correlates of memory-biased attention in hearing. Designed experiments and was responsible for each step of the research process, including training of research assistants. Presented findings at 3 conferences; awarded The Ebbinghaus Award for Best Talk. Published two papers in peer-reviewed journals.
2021 Research intern, The Virtual Brain, Rotman Research institute at Baycrest Hospital
  • Project: Modelling dynamics of large-scale brain networks of memory-guided attention in hearing
    Supervisor: Dr. Randy McIntosh
2016 - 2018 Honours psychology research theses, McGill University
  • Thesis 1: The role of timbre in auditory stream segregation: Investigating the critical link between auditory perception and human expression
    Supervisor: Dr. Stephen McAdams
  • Thesis 2: Timbre saliency and stratification in orchestral musical
    excerpts

    Supervisor: Dr. Stephen McAdams
Summer 2018 Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC), McGill University
  • Project 1: Neural encoding of audio-motor sequences in music
    learning using machine learning multi-pattern voxel analysis

    Supervisor: Dr. Robert Zatorre
  • Project 2: Publication preparation; continuation of analysis (previous two theses)
    Supervisor: Dr. Stephen McAdams
Summer 2017

Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC), McGill University

Project: Perceptual segregation in orchestral musical excerpts
Supervisor: Dr. Stephen McAdams

 
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JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS/MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION
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Journal Publications

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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2020). Incidental auditory learning and memory-guided attention: Examining the role of attention at the behavioural and neural level using EEG. Neuropsychologia, 147, 107586. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107586. PDF HERE

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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2020). A systematic review and meta- analysis of memory-guided attention: Frontal and parietal activation suggests involvement of fronto-parietal networks. WIREs Cognitive Science, 12(1), e1546. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1546. PDF HERE

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  1. Fischer, M., Soden, K.,  Thoret, E., Montrey, M., & McAdams, S. (in press, accepted 01/2021). Instrument timbre enhances perceptual segregation in orchestral music. Music Perception.
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Manuscripts in Preparation

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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., Alain, C. (in prep). Feature conjunction and memory-guided attention: Directed attention at exposure modulates implicit memory for real-world soundscapes at retrieval.
  1. Fischer, M., Guastavino, C., McAdams, S. (in prep). The role of timbre in orchestral stratification: Examining the complex intersection of auditory perception, attention, and art.
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CONFERENCE POSTERS & TALKS
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Talks

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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2021). Memory-guided attention: A look at the neural correlates that underly "expectation for perception". Talk presented at the Neuroscience Research Group at York University (online due to COVID-19).
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2021). Optimizing attention and performance: The role of experience and memory. Talk presented at the Ebbinghaus Empire Data Blitz at the University of Toronto (online due to COVID-19).
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2020). Directed attention at exposure modulates implicit memory for real-world soundscapes at retrieval. Talk presented at the Auditory Perception, Cognition, & Action Meeting (APCAM) 2020 (online due to COVID-19).
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  1. Fischer, M. (2019). Memory-guided attention in hearing. Talk presented at the Rotman Research Institute Trainee December 2019 SpeakEasy, Baycrest Hospital.
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2019). Incidental Auditory Learning and Memory-guided Attention: A Behavioural and Electroencephalogram (EEG) Study. Talk presented at the Auditory Perception, Cognition, & Action Meeting 2019, Montreal, Canada.
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  1. Fischer, M., Soden, K., Thoret, E., Montrey, M., & McAdams, S. (2019). The role of timbre in perceptual segregation in orchestral music. Talk presented at the Symposium on Interdisciplinary Studies in Orchestration and Timbre: The ACTOR Project at the Society of Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC), New York, NY.
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2019). Does everyday auditory experience facilitate memory-guided attention? Talk presented at Toronto Area Memory Group (TAMEG), Toronto.
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2019). Does everyday auditory experience facilitate memory-guided attention? Invited talk presented at the Graduate Speaker Series, University of Toronto.
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Posters

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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2020). Long-term memory-guided Attention and theta-band oscillations. Flash presentation and poster presented at the Nonlinear Dynamics of Brain and Behaviour Symposium (online due to COVID-19).
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  1. Fischer, M., Moscovitch, M., & Alain, C. (2020). Long-term memory-guided attention and alpha-band oscillations: Implicit access to spatial information. Poster presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting (online due to COVID-19).
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  1. Fischer, M., Soden, K., & McAdams, S. (2017). Orchestral timbre in perceptual segregation. Invited poster (competitive) presented at the Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Conference, McGill University.
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FUNDING
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2020

Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral Award ($105,000, over 36 months), rank: 1, NSERC

2020 (declined)

Complex Dynamics Training (CREATE) Grant ($26,000), NSERC

2020

Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement ($6,000)

2020

Mitacs Globalink Research Award ($4,000)

2019

CREATE Grant ($26,000), NSERC

2019 (declined)

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Award ($17,500), NSERC

Summer 2018

Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) ($5,600), NSERC

Summer 2018

Supplements of the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards ($2,000), Fonds de Recherche du Quebec Nature et Technologies (FRQNT)

Summer 2017

Undergraduate Student Research Award ($5,600), NSERC

Summer 2017

Supplements of the NSERC USRA ($2,000), FRQNT

 
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DISTINCTIONS & AWARDS
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2019

Finkler Graduate Student Fellowship ($3,000), Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest

2019

The Ebbinghaus Award for Best Talk ($75 and invited manuscript), Toronto Area Memory Group (TAMEG), Toronto

2018

Faculty of Arts and Science Admissions Award ($5,000), University of Toronto

2017

Celia Hendler Scholarship in Psychology ($3,545), McGill University

2016

Dean's Honour List (top 10%), McGill University

2013 - 2015

Dean's Honour Roll (90% average or above); Honour List (85-89% average), Vanier College

2013

Governor General's Academic Medal (highest grade point average); Valedictorian, F.A.C.E. School

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TEACHING EXPERIENCE
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Advised and trained | Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital
  • Undergraduate thesis co-op student (4 months) | J.M. Soto (2021)
  • Two undergraduate research students | K. Ramdeo (4 months) and S. Paracha (8 months) (2019)
  • Tutorial leader | University of Toronto (Summer 2019)
  • PSY202H (Statistics II)
  • PSY201F (Statistics I)
  • PSY100S (Introduction to Psychology)
  • Invited Guest Lecturer | University of Toronto (April 2019)
  • PSY493H1 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Teaching Assistantships | University of Toronto (2018 - present)
  • PSY202 (Statistics II)
  • PSY201 (Statistics I); 5 sessions
  • PSY203 (Psychological Research)
  • PSY230 (Personality Psychology)
  • PSY220 (Introduction to Social Psychology)
  • PSY100 (Introduction to Psychology)
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    TECHNICAL SKILLS
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    Hardware and brain imaging experience

    • EEG experimentation and analyses:
      • 76-channel system and audiometer
      • Neurobehavioral Systems Presentation and MATLAB
      • BESA Research, BESA Statistics, and Brainstorm
    • fMRI analyses and visualization:
      • Preprocessed fMRI data and applied machine learning multi-pattern voxel analysis techniques to audio-motor cello training data set
      • Python, Shell scripting, FSL, and AFNI.

    Statistical/modelling tools

    • Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) used to create multi-level models.
    • Meta-analysis performed, using GingerALE.
    • R used for statistical analysis and visualization (GPA 4.0).

    Acoustic analyses and sound editing

    • Implemented MATLAB’s Timbre Toolbox to extract audio attributes from musical signals. Digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software (Logic Pro X) used to edit and render sound stimuli.

    Operating systems:  Windows and Mac

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