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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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My background is in psychoacoustics and auditory cognitive neuroscience. Specifically, I have looked at the role of timbre and attention in the perceptual organization of sound (auditory scene analysis) and have examined the neural encoding and cross-modal plasticity of audio-motor sequences in music learning.

I would like to further explore sensory processing in relation to processing that is driven by cognition and to investigate this interconnectedness from multiple angles, using a diverse set of techniques.

 
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CURRENT RESEARCH: AUDITORY MEMORY AND ATTENTION
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I am working now on the interaction between memory and auditory attention. 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 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.
2016 - 2018 Honours psychology research projects, 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, 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. (2020). Instrument timbre enhances perceptual segregation in orchestral music. Music Perception. Manuscript under review.
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Manuscripts in Preparation

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  1. Fischer, M., Guastavino, C., McAdams, S. (2020). The role of timbre in orchestral stratification: Examining the complex intersection of auditory perception, attention, and art. Manuscript in preparation.
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CONFERENCE POSTERS & TALKS
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Talks

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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Mitacs Globalink Research Award ($4,000)

2019

CREATE Grant ($26,000), NSERC

2019

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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Tutorial leader | University of Toronto (Summer 2019)
  • PSY201F (Statistics I)
  • PSY100S (Introduction to Psychology)
  • Invited Guest Lecturer | University of Toronto (April 2019)
  • PSY493H1 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Advised and trained two undergraduate research students (K. Ramdeo and S. Pararcha) (2019)

    Teaching Assistantships | University of Toronto (2018 - present)
  • 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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