Submission Type

Poster

Start Date

22-4-2020 12:00 AM

Abstract

Cognitive neuroscience research suggests that forgetting may depend on which brain areas are supporting a memory, and whether the memory is for meaningful or less meaningful content. The hippocampus is known to represent more vivid recollections of the past, and hippocampal memories appear to decay at the same rate regardless of meaning. In contrast, the medial temporal lobe represents more intuitive feelings of familiarity, and is better at retaining memories for meaningful experiences over time. We sought to test the impact of interference on hippocampal and non-hippocampal memories. We had participants study and recognize a list of random words in a continuous recognition task, providing us with ratings of which words were recollectable (i.e., likely being remembered hippocampally) and which were not. Subjects then viewed an interference list of words that was either semantically related or unrelated to the studied words. In a final phase, we assessed whether memory for the original items had declined due to the interference items. While the related interference items generalcelerated forgetting, they had a much bigger impact on previously recollected words (i.e., hippocampally-dependent memories). Our study demonstrates that when it comes to forgetting, hippocampal memories may have some sensitivity to meaning.

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Sponsored by Jason Ozubko

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Apr 22nd, 12:00 AM

375— Forgetting Memories: How Meaning Influences Memory Decline in the Hippocampus

Cognitive neuroscience research suggests that forgetting may depend on which brain areas are supporting a memory, and whether the memory is for meaningful or less meaningful content. The hippocampus is known to represent more vivid recollections of the past, and hippocampal memories appear to decay at the same rate regardless of meaning. In contrast, the medial temporal lobe represents more intuitive feelings of familiarity, and is better at retaining memories for meaningful experiences over time. We sought to test the impact of interference on hippocampal and non-hippocampal memories. We had participants study and recognize a list of random words in a continuous recognition task, providing us with ratings of which words were recollectable (i.e., likely being remembered hippocampally) and which were not. Subjects then viewed an interference list of words that was either semantically related or unrelated to the studied words. In a final phase, we assessed whether memory for the original items had declined due to the interference items. While the related interference items generalcelerated forgetting, they had a much bigger impact on previously recollected words (i.e., hippocampally-dependent memories). Our study demonstrates that when it comes to forgetting, hippocampal memories may have some sensitivity to meaning.

 

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