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Poster E67 - Graduate Student Award Winner

When natural behaviour flexibly engages memories of different timescales

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Levi Kumle1,2 (, Rhianna Watt2, Sage Boettcher1,2, Kia Nobre1,2,3, Dejan Draschkow1,2; 1Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, UK, 2Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 3Wu Tsai Institute and Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, USA

Memories of different types and timescales – for instance, working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM) – have been shown to support discrete cognitive operations like attentional allocation and attentional sampling. During free-flowing natural behaviour, however, memory traces of different kinds provide the scaffolding for these discrete operations in a continuous and interconnected way. In three virtual reality (VR) experiments, we embraced the multifaceted nature of memory guided behaviour. Participants copied a Model display by selecting realistic objects from a Resource pool and placing them into a Workspace. We tracked head, hand, and eye movements as well as free-flowing interactions with the environment. On this basis, we segmented continuous temporally extended behaviour into tractable sub-units: encoding, visual search, and memory usage. Through the repetition of specific arrangements within the environment and using non-repeated/novel arrangements as a baseline, we demonstrate how different types of memories guide the interconnected processes of encoding, search, and memory utilisation. Overall, we uncover multiple ways in which LTM supports naturally unfolding behaviour. First, we demonstrate that reliance on information in memory – compared to gathering information from the external environment – increased when Model arrangements were repeated. Further, search times improved for repeated Resource arrangements. We also found high performance in a subsequent recognition memory task for repeated arrangements, suggesting that the incidentally formed representations during the task were durable and accessible. Our work provides an innovative framework for investigating naturally unfolding memory-guided behaviour, offering new insight into the interplay among vision, memory, and action.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Other


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