Miri Besken, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology


      Office: H-345
      Phone: +90 (312) 290 17 28
      E-mail: mbesken@bilkent.edu.tr
      Lab webpage: memory-lab.bilkent.edu.tr






Miri Besken is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Bilkent University.  Prior to completing her Ph.D in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she obtained a BS in Psychology from Middle East Technical University and an MA in Developmental Psychology from Koç University. Before coming to Bilkent University, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Heinrich Heine Universität in Dusseldorf, Germany. Her research interests lie in the intersection of memory, learning and metacognitive processes with a focus on healthy young adults and aging population.


  • Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology (2012), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MA in Developmental Psychology (2005), Koç University
  • BS in Psychology (2003), Middle East Technical University


Dr. Besken’s research interests lie at the intersection of learning and memory. People process countless stimuli every day and remember only an incomplete and imperfect version of this information. The limited contents of people’s minds determine who they are, how they define ourselves, the way that they tell their life stories, which new information they will attend to and what decisions they will make. In order to examine what and how they remember, Dr. Besken pursues several interrelated research projects that focus on the topics below:

Metamemory: Beliefs, heuristic and control processes in memory 

An important factor in memory encoding is the set of beliefs that people have about their memory. These beliefs, heuristics and control processes guide memory encoding, and are referred to as metamemory. Metamemory is important, because it determines how we will allocate our limited resources in the face of incoming information. Recently, it has been suggested that certain perceptual and conceptual characteristics of the material may induce illusions that participants will remember some information better than others, despite the fact that memory performance is unrelated to these illusions. One line of Dr. Besken’s research examines the systematic factors that lead to these illusions.

Encoding factors in memory

People use different cues in order to choose how they will guide their limited resources to encode incoming information. One of the cues that they frequently use is the novelty of the incoming information. If something is in conflict with their general world knowledge, they often encode the information more extensively than typical information that they confront more routinely. One line of research examines the importance of novel and unusual information in learning and encoding information.

Selected Publications

Besken, M., & Mulligan, N. W. (2014). Perceptual Fluency, Auditory Generation, and Metamemory: Analyzing the Perceptual Fluency Hypothesis in the Auditory Modality. The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 429-440.

Besken, M., & Mulligan, N. W. (2013). Easily perceived, easily learned? Perceptual interference produces a double dissociation between metamemory and memory performance. Memory & Cognition, 41, 897-903.

Susser, J., Mulligan, N. W. & Besken, M. (2013). The effects of list composition and perceptual fluency on judgments of learning (JOLs). Memory & Cognition, 41, 1000-1011.