Dr Saima Noreen

Job: VC2020 Senior Lecturer

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK

T: +44 (0)116 257 7331

E: saima.noreen@dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

My research is concerned with the executive control of memory and how this relates to identity and the social world. In particular I am interested in the extent to which we have control over how particular memories come to mind and whether the ability to forget particular memories associated with events may facilitate changes in affect and may represent one of the means by which forgiveness and reconciliation may occur.

I am also interested in exploring the neural correlates of this executive control process and am also keen to understand how different psychopathologies (including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder) influence the ability to forget emotional material (including emotional words, faces, pictures and autobiographical memory).

Publications and outputs

Noreen., S., Cooke, R., & Ridout, N. (2019). Investigating the mediating effect of working memory on intentional forgetting in dysphoria. Psychological Research (accepted)

Noreen, S., & De Fockert, J. (2017). The role of cognitive load on intentional forgetting using the Think/No-Think task. Experimental Psychology, 64 (1), 14-26.

Noreen, S. & Ridout, N. (2016). Examining the impact of thought substitution on intentional forgetting in induced and naturally occurring dysphoria. Psychiatry Research, 30, 280-288

Noreen, S. & Ridout, N. (2016). Intentional forgetting in dysphoria: investigating the inhibitory effects of thought substitution using independent cues. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 52, 110-118.

Noreen, S., O’Conor, A., & MacLeod, M. D. (2016). Neural correlates of direct and indirect suppression of autobiographical memories. Frontiers in Psychology, vol 7, 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00379

Noreen, S., & MacLeod, M. D. (2015). What Do We Really Know about Cognitive Inhibition? Task Demands and Inhibitory Effects across a Range of Memory and Behavioural Tasks. PLoS ONE 10(8)

Noreen, S., & MacLeod, M. D. (2015). The Psychology of Forgiveness and Intentional Forgetting. In Olsen, E. L. (Ed.), Forgiveness: Social Significance, Health Impact and Psychological Effects (pp. 17-41). United States. Nova Science Pub Inc.  

Noreen, S., Bierman, R., & MacLeod, M. D. (2014). Forgiving you is hard but forgetting seems easy: Can forgiveness facilitate forgetting. Psychological Science, 25, 1295-1302.

Noreen, S., Whyte, K., & Dritschel, B. (2014).Investigating the role of future thinking in social problem solving. Clinical Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 46, 78-84.

Noreen, S., & MacLeod, M. D. (2014). To think or not to think, that is the question: Individual differences in suppression and rebound effects in autobiographical memory. Acta Psychologica, 145, 84-97.

Noreen, S. & MacLeod, M. D. (2013). It’s all in the detail: Intentional forgetting of autobiographical memories using the think/no-think task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 39(2), 375-393.

Noreen, S. & Ridout, N. (2010). Short-term memory for emotional faces in dysphoria. Memory, 18 (5), 486-497.

Areas of teaching

Abnormal Psychology; Research Methods


PhD, Mres, BSc

Conference attendance

  • “Intentional forgetting & forgiveness” UCLA CogFog Meeting- US, (March 2015).
  •  ‘Can we forgive and forget?’ Stirling University – Scotland, (Dec 2015)
  • Intentional forgetting and forgiveness’ Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, (Dec 2014)
  •  “In the here and now: Future thinking in social problem solving” 9th Autobiographical Memory and Psychopathology Meeting in Exeter (December, 2013).
  •  “To think or not to think? Individual differences in suppression” Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC X), Rotterdam (June, 2013)
  •  ‘It’s all in the detail: Intentional forgetting of the details associated with autobiographical memories using the autobiographical think/no-think task’ Clinical Perspectives in Autobiographical Memory held in Aarhus, Denmark (June, 2012)
  •  ‘Intentional forgetting using the autobiographical think/no-think task’ The British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience held in Newcastle (April, 2012)
  •  ‘Intentional forgetting of autobiographical memories using the think/no-think task’.  International Conference on Memory (ICOM) held in York (July/August, 2011)
  •  ‘The role of retrieval inhibition in forgetting’. International Conference on Memory (ICOM) held in York (July/August, 2011)
  •  ‘Intentional forgetting of autobiographical memories using the think/no-think task’.   European Congress of Psychology held in Istanbul (July, 2011)
  •  ‘The role of retrieval inhibition in forgetting’  Social Cognition Network and Training Scheme (SCONET) held at Birmingham University (June, 2011)
  • Mood-congruent memory biases for emotional facial expressions in dysphoria’ British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience held at Dundee University, Scotland (August, 2008).

External funding and awards

March 2015- £9606 British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant for "Can't we just forgive and forget?" Examining the effects of forgiveness on intentional forgetting

March 2015- £1000 International Research Engagement Fund (Goldsmiths) to cover travel and accommodation to attend the Bjork and Bjork learning and forgetting lab in UCLA, Los Angeles

February 2015- £1820 Goldsmiths summer bursary to take on UG intern

June 2013- £500 Guarantors of Brain Travel Grant to attend SARMAC X conference

July 2011- £4274 British Academy Small Research Grants. Noreen, S (PI) & MacLeod, M. D. (Co-PI)

July 2011- £500 Grindley Grant awarded by Experimental Psychological Society for travel and accommodation costs towards attendance to the European Congress of Psychology

June 2011- £300 Travel and accommodation bursary awarded from The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for attendance to the Social Cognition Network and Training Scheme (SCONET)

Jan 2007-Dec 2010- School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University PhD studentship

Press coverage

Research has also featured on Fox News, ABC News, NBC news and BBC News

The Conversation (15th Sept 2015)- The internet is eating your memory but something better us taking place. By Saima Noreen.


The Independent (11th Oct 2015)


The Washington Post (16th Sept 2015)


The Conversation (April 2015)- If you can forgive it actually makes it easier to forget By Saima Noreen & Malcolm MacLeod


The Daily Telegraph 17th May 2014 – Forgive and forget? Science suggests it’s the best thing to do


The Telegraph 16th May 2014 – Why its better to forgive and forget http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10828855/Why-its-better-to-forgive-and-forget.html

Scotsman 13th May 2014- Forgiveness is the key to forgetting the past


Daily Mail 13th May 2014-It really is better to forgive and forget


Global Observer April 2014- Learning to forgive and forget

Association for Psychological Science – April 2014


Huffington Post April 2014- The psychology of forgiving and forgetting


New Scientist (October 2012 Edition- Titled – Master your Memory: A user’s guide (article by Dr Christian Jarrett).

ABC News- Painful memories may be erasable


BPS Research Digest (July, 2012) - Repression Redux? It is possible to deliberately forget details from our past


Radio Interview with NPR News



Daily Mail Online- How you can forget painful memories through intentional forgetting


MSN News


Video featuring research on Global Toronto (TV)