Karl Szpunar

Assistant Professor of Psychology


Karl Szpunar; experts guide

Karl Szpunar — Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Psychologist Karl Szpunar is principal investigator in the UIC Memory Lab, where researchers seek to understand the nature and function of human memory using cognitive and neuroimaging approaches.

People spend upwards of one-third of their daily lives mentally detached from ongoing activities — focusing instead on thoughts about their personal past and future. Szpunar says the mind is particularly prone to wander in educational contexts, making it difficult for some students to focus attention in school over extended periods of time.

His work focuses on the cognitive and neural underpinnings that generate the ability to reflect on the personal past and future, with a specific emphasis on the personal future. He is also developing evidence-based interventions that aim to help instructors to present educational materials in a manner that can reduce or redirect mind-wandering and improve students’ learning.

Subject areas:

  • Human memory
  • Education
  • Learning strategies
  • Classroom instruction

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