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Publication Detail
Sharing a Context with Other Rewarding Events Increases the Probability that Neutral Events will be Recollected.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Loh E, Deacon M, de Boer L, Dolan RJ, Duzel E
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
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  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    context, dopamine, hippocampus, memory, recollection, reward
  • Notes:
    © 2016 Loh, Deacon, de Boer, Dolan and Duzel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Although reward is known to enhance memory for reward-predicting events, the extent to which such memory effects spread to associated (neutral) events is unclear. Using a between-subject design, we examined how sharing a background context with rewarding events influenced memory for motivationally neutral events (tested after a 5 days delay). We found that sharing a visually rich context with rewarding objects during encoding increased the probability that neutral objects would be successfully recollected during memory test, as opposed to merely being recognized without any recall of associative detail. In contrast, such an effect was not seen when the context was not explicitly demarcated and objects were presented against a blank black background. These qualitative changes in memory were observed in the absence of any effects on overall recognition (as measured by d'). Additionally, a follow-up study failed to find any evidence to suggest that the mere presence of a context picture in the background during encoding (i.e., without the reward manipulation) produced any such qualitative changes in memory. These results suggest that reward enhances recollection for rewarding objects as well as other non-rewarding events that are representationally linked to the same context.
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