Poster B73, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Probing the transition of novel information towards familiarity
Amnon Yacoby1, Anat Maril1; 1Hebrew University of Jerusalem
In daily life, humans are exposed to new information which could be consistent (familiar) or inconsistent (novel) with prior knowledge. Over time, the once-novel information becomes integrated into our knowledge base, shifting its mental status from novelty to familiarity. In this study, we investigated the processes by which this transition takes place. Our assumption was that over the course of recurrent presentations of novel objects, their neural representations gradually change, expressing a transition towards familiarity. We further assumed that this shift is tractable by neural patterns using fMRI. While being scanned, participants were presented with noun-adjective word pairs that were either consistent or inconsistent with their prior knowledge. The stimuli were repeated 3-6 times within the scans. Employing univariate and multivariate analyses we show that neural representations of familiar and novel objects differ upon first presentation in lateral frontal and temporal regions, as well as in medial prefrontal cortex and the precuneus. Importantly, the neural representations of novel stimuli were gradually altered over the course of repetitions such that they became indistinguishable from those of the respective familiar items in these regions. Our findings suggest that the transition from novelty to familiarity is gradual, and is completed within a few repetitions.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Semantic