Nora Turoman

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Nora Turoman

Junior Group Leader |  Postdoctoral researcher

I obtained my MSc in Psychological Research Methods at the University of Oxford, after which I completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Lausanne. In my PhD, I investigated the development of selective attention over visual and multisensory objects throughout primary education, and how such skills relate to children’s emerging literacy and numeracy. I then continued onto a postdoc at the University of Geneva, focusing on the links between distraction and working memory in multisensory environments, as a model of school learning. After receiving the competitive Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship, I am now continuing this work, and many other projects, as a junior group leader.

Twitter: @NoraPlethora
Personal website


Ongoing projects

class.pngThe effects of real-world distraction on developing working memory (supported by the Jacobs foundation)

We know that distraction can have negative effects for working memory performance, and school learning. What we do not know is if different sorts of distracting information are equally as disruptive. Most lab-based research focuses on information that we can see (visual) or that we can hear (auditory), but real environments like classrooms are full of information that we can see and hear (multisensory). This project aims to compare visual, auditory, and multisensory distracting information on how disruptive they are for working memory performance in primary school children and young adults, in order to better understand the developmental trajectory of distractor effects in working memory, with implications for classroom practice.

(in collaboration with Evie Vergauwe)


Does the task-relevance of distractors affect working memory performance?

noraxp.pngDistractors that stimulate multiple senses at a time (multisensory distractors) should be more distracting than distractors that stimulate one sense at a time (unisensory distractors) because of their superior salience. However, new attentional research suggests that salience on its own is not enough, and that the distractor also has to be relevant to the task at hand in some way (e.g., by looking like the target), in order for it to be processed by the brain. In a multi-experiment study, we will investigate different levels of task relevance (none, partial, and full) of unisensory and multisensory distractors, with the goal to clarify the conditions under which distraction affects working memory performance. This study will also shine a new light on the relationships between selective attention processes and working memory.

(in collaboration with Evie Vergauwe)


Can the contents of children’s working memory be “decoded”?

123.jpgWorking memory is a key predictor of children’s cognitive development and academic outcomes, yet the mechanisms by which children maintain information in working memory are poorly understood. In a proof-of-concept project, we will use Multivariate Pattern Analysis (MVPA) on electroencephalographic (EEG) measures of children’s working memory processing, to uncover whether we can derive the representational content of children’s working memory.

(in collaboration with Evie Vergauwe, Prosper Agbesi Fiave, and Megan deBettencourt)



And many more collaborations



Elodie Walter – research assistant (Masters)
Anae Motz – research assistant (Bachelors)



Laboratoire Mémoire de travail, Cognition et Développement 
Université de Genève
Faculté de psychologie et Sciences de l'éducation
Bureau 5158
40 Boulevard Pont d'Arve
1205 Genève