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David Greeno

Dr David Greeno


School of Psychology


Verbal short-term memory (vSTM) refers to the ability by which information such as speech or written text is stored and, after a short delay, retrieved. The ability to temporarily store and retrieve information is thought to underpin critical cognitive functions such as sentence comprehension and reasoning/decision making. Therefore, understanding vSTM should lead to greater understanding of cognition more generally.

I am interested in understanding how we remember (and forget) new information and in attempting to understand the processes that underpin this.







Research topics

Remembering information over the short-term is often explained by relying on the classical distinction between long-term memory and short-term memory with forgetting occurring due to processes operating within a short-term memory store such as interference or decay. Key phenomena such as the word-length effect, lexicality effect and the frequency effect are all used as evidence of a distinct short-term memory store and as evidence of the processes proposed to operate within it. My research considers that performance in verbal short-term memory (vSTM) tasks can instead be reinterpreted in terms of the use of more general perceptual and motor skills and that, rather than processes operating within a distinct short-term memory store, it is actually the opportunistic use of these skills that causes such short-term memory phenomena to emerge.

As an extension of this research, I am keen to bridge our knowledge of memory and cognition with cutting edge research into cyber security. Humans have typically been seen as the ‘weak-link’ when it comes to cyber-security with a tendency to view the improvement of cyber security as a matter of systems’ development. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that the human contribution to security is paramount and an area where cognitive psychology (in particular, short-term memory research methodology and theory) has begun making positive contributions. However, to best utilise human behaviour within a system, it is first important to understand how and why human behaviour manifests within cyberspace, before solutions to mitigate risks that incorporate human strengths are designed and implemented within organisations. As part of this research I have worked within The Cyber Lab contained within The Airbus Cyber Innovation Hub (a joint initiative between Airbus and Welsh Government to drive and deliver ground-breaking innovation in Wales). Contained within the Cyber Lab is a Human-Centric Cyber Security Team that explore areas such as identifying susceptibilities to certain security risks and designing strategies that enable individuals to become the best defence for future risks. Recent interest in the utilisation of vSTM tasks/theory in these areas has already led to a number of key findings and recommendations.


2020-2021: Greeno, D. J. (Fellow), Morey, C.C. (Principal mentor), & Morgan, P. (Co-Mentor). ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Applying principles of verbal short-term memory to cyber security research. £102,888.

Greeno, D. J. (2015-2019). ESRC/School of Psychology, Cardiff University, 4 year funded PhD studentship.


Morgan, P. L., Collins, E., Spiliotopoulos, T., Greeno, D. J., & Jones, D. M. (2022). Reducing Risk
to Security and Privacy in the Selection of Trigger-Action Rules: Implicit vs. Explicit Priming for
Domestic Smart Devices. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

Greeno, D. J., Macken, B., & Jones, D. M. (2022). The company a word keeps: The role of neighbourhood density in verbal short-term memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75(11), 2159–2176.

Greeno, D. J., (2019). The (Questionable) Role of Neighbourhood Density in Verbal Short-Term Memory (Doctoral dissertation, Cardiff University, U.K.).


I contribute to the delivery and teaching of the Final Year Human Factors (PS3119) module on the BSc Psychology course. I also supervise final year research projects and deliver academic tutorials.

At postgraduate level, I contribute to the delivery of teaching on the MSc Psychology course.


Postgraduate education

  • 2020: PhD 'The (Questionable) Role of Neighbourhood Density in Verbal Short-Term Memory’ – School of Psychology, Cardiff University.
  • 2014: MSc Psychological Research Methods – School of Psychology, University of Plymouth.

Undergraduate education

  • 2013: BSc (Hons) Psychology – School of Psychology, University of Plymouth.

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).


  • 2022 - present: Lecturer
  • 2021: Lecturer/Research Associate
  • 2020 - 2021: ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Cardiff University.
  • 2018: Research Assistant, School of Psychology, Cardiff University.
  • 2015-2019: Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), School of Psychology, Cardiff University.