Prof. Brice Kuhl | Adaptive distortions of long-term memory representations

Mind Meeting

  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time: 06:00 PM - 07:20 PM
  • Speaker: Prof. Brice Kuhl
  • Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
  • Location: MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Room: Zoom Meeting
  • Host: Department of Psychology
  • Contact: psy-office@cbs.mpg.de
When memories share common features, this creates the potential for interference and forgetting. Understanding how the brain resolves memory interference represents a critical goal for computational and theoretical models of memory. Electrophysiological evidence from rodents suggests that the hippocampus is equipped to solve this challenge by pattern separating representations of similar memories. I will describe a series of fMRI studies showing that the human hippocampus not only pattern separates similar memories, but actively distorts representational structure such that highly similar memories are associated with markedly dissimilar hippocampal activity patterns. Critically, this distortion of representational structure in the hippocampus is adaptive in that it predicts less interference. I will also describe complementary behavioral studies in which we show similar adaptive distortions but at the level of feature dimensions of visual stimuli recalled from memory. Collectively, these findings highlight the adaptive role of representational distortions in protecting similar memories from interference.

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