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Publication Detail
EPS mid-career prize 2018: Inference within episodic memory reflects pattern completion.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Binte Mohd Ikhsan SN, Bisby JA, Bush D, Steins DS, Burgess N
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
  • Journal:
    Q J Exp Psychol (Hove)
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Episodic memory, hippocampus, inference, pattern completion, recollection
Recollection of episodic memories is a process of reconstruction where coherent events are inferred from subsets of remembered associations. Here, we investigated the formation of multielement events from sequential presentation of overlapping pairs of elements (people, places, and objects/animals), interleaved with pairs from other events. Retrievals of paired associations from a fully observed event (e.g., AB, BC, AC) were statistically dependent, indicating a process of pattern completion, but retrievals from a partially observed event (e.g., AB, BC, CD) were not. However, inference for unseen "indirect" associations (i.e., AC, BD or AD) from a partially observed event showed strong dependency with each other and with linking direct associations from that event. In addition, inference of indirect associations correlated with the product of performance on the linking direct associations across events (e.g., AC with ABxBC) but not on the non-linking association (e.g., AC with CD). These results were seen across three experiments, with greater differences in dependency between indirect and direct associations when they were separately tested, but similar results following single and repeated presentations of the direct associations. The results could be accounted for by a simple auto-associative network model of hippocampal memory function. Our findings suggest that pattern completion supports recollection of fully observed multielement events and the inference of indirect associations in partly observed multielement events, mediated via the directly observed linking associations (although the direct associations themselves were retrieved independently). Together with previous work, our results suggest that associative inference plays a key role in reconstructive episodic memory and does so through hippocampal pattern completion.
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