Schedule of Events | Search Abstracts | Symposia | Invited Symposia | Poster Sessions | Data Blitz Sessions

Poster E41

Quantifying the Composition of Memories with Scrambled Narratives

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

William Fisher1 (, Andrée-Ann Cyr2, Buddhika Bellana3; 1York University, 2York University, Glendon Campus, 3York University, Glendon Campus; Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences

Our memories of the past are not faithful recordings, but stylized reconstructions of our previous experiences. These reconstructions are shaped by a variety of factors, including the individual rememberer and the passage of time. For example, some individuals better recall the particularities of a given moment (i.e., episodic details) while others emphasize generalities (i.e., schematic details). We propose a new, efficient experimental paradigm for quantifying episodic-schematic composition of memory. Participants read and subsequently recalled a story with the order of events randomly scrambled. Participants recalled the story by reordering brief descriptions of each story event according to two different task instructions. The Episodic group was asked to “rearrange the events into the order in which you remember them occurring”, and the Schematic group was asked to “rearrange the events into the order that you believe the story would have originally been told”. Episodic and schematic composition in recall was quantified as the Spearman correlation between the order of participants’ recalled events and both the presented order of events (episodic) and original order of events before scrambling (schematic). Paired-sample t-tests indicate that episodic composition was greater in the Episodic group (M=0.51) than Schematic group (M=-0.16), t(20)=4.39, p<.001, and schematic composition was greater in the Schematic group (M=0.43) than Episodic group (M=-0.11), t(20)=4.49, p<.001. This study highlights a novel way to efficiently quantify the qualitative composition of a memory.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


CNS Account Login


April 13–16  |  2024