Poster A92, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Schema-related predictions and their violations in episodic memory
Darya Frank1, Daniela Montaldi1, Bianca Wittmann2, Deborah Talmi1; 1University of Manchester, 2University of Giessen
The ability to predict future events from previous experience is an important advantage from an evolutionary viewpoint and stands at the basis of some theoretical accounts of the human brain (Friston, 2005; Bar, 2007). Given the importance of such predictions, of special interest is the fate of information that violates them. Such information stands out and attracts more attention, which encourages more elaborative encoding. However, it could also be unreliable in light of many previous experiences and thus discarded. Here we examine the fate of schema-congruent and incongruent information by using multi-element events with strong contextual settings to elicit predictions. Participants encoded pairwise associates in an interleaved manner across four blocks. Between blocks, these associates created events, comprising four elements out of which one was either congruent or incongruent with the context. We then employed an item-recognition test for each element followed by a cued-recall test for its pairwise associate. We found that incongruent elements were less remembered than congruent ones and served as worse cues than their congruent counterparts. Interestingly, the post-violation incongruent pair was better recalled than the congruent one, even though their semantic features were identical. Our results suggest items associated with a prediction error are not necessarily more accessible in episodic memory (Van Kesteren et al., 2012). The post-violation finding could be related to reduced interference from previous list items. To further elucidate these results, future work will explore different levels of predictions and the timescale of these effects.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic