Poster A59, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Strategically orienting retrieval toward remote and recent memories: An episodic specificity account
Emily Leiker1,2, Mason Price2, Jeffrey Johnson2; 1Boys Town National Research Hospital, 2University of Missouri
Numerous studies have demonstrated that episodic retrieval depends on the age of the memory trace. Whereas these findings are typically couched in terms of the quality of the trace, recent ERP studies have indicated that retrieval also depends on how cue processing is differentially oriented to memory age. One account of such differences involves specificity, such that orienting toward remote versus recent memories is respectively directed at recovering less versus more specific information. Here, this hypothesis was tested with an “episodic specificity induction” procedure, in which an unrelated task immediately preceding a memory test can have an effect on the processing engaged during the test. Participants (N = 32) encoded pictures during two laboratory visits separated by one week. ERPs were then recorded while participants undertook a series of memory tests separately targeting the pictures from each visit. Prior to each test block, participants were shown a series of words and, for each, they had to complete either one (the general induction) or three elaborate judgments (the specific induction). The induction procedure affected behavioral performance, with the general condition giving rise to lower levels of retrieval accuracy. Importantly the ERPs also differed according to the induction manipulation across remote and recent retrieval, similar to previous orienting effects of memory age, despite the fact that difficulty was controlled in the present study. The findings suggest that memory age can give rise to expectations about the specificity of traces, thereby modulating the nature of strategic retrieval cue processing.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic