Andrew Butler is interested in the malleability of memory – the cognitive processes and mechanisms that cause memories to change or remain stable over time.
Butler's research focuses on how the process of retrieving memories affects the content (e.g., events, specific details, narrative structure, etc.) and phenomenological characteristics (e.g., confidence, emotional intensity, vividness, etc.) of those memories. His program of research addresses both theoretical issues in cognitive psychology and practical applications to education and mental health.
The broad aim of this research program is to gain a better understanding of how retrieval affects: memories held by individuals and those shared by groups (i.e. collective memories); memories for simple materials (e.g., word lists, facts, etc.) to more complex memories that are rich in sensory detail, emotion, and self-relevance, among other characteristics; and newly formed, episodic memories in contrast to well-learned semantic memories that have been integrated into the knowledge base.