The neural representation of events Is dominated by elements that are most reliably present

Bromis, Konstantinos, Raykov, Petar P, Wickens, Leah, Roseboom, Warrick and Bird, Chris M (2022) The neural representation of events Is dominated by elements that are most reliably present. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34 (3). pp. 517-531. ISSN 0898-929X

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An episodic memory is specific to an event that occurred at a particular time and place. However, the elements that constitute the event—the location, the people present, and their actions and goals—might be shared with numerous other similar events. Does the brain preferentially represent certain elements of a remembered event? If so, which elements dominate its neural representation: those that are shared across similar events, or the novel elements that define a specific event? We addressed these questions by using a novel experimental paradigm combined with fMRI. Multiple events were created involving conversations between two individuals using the format of a television chat show. Chat show “hosts” occurred repeatedly across multiple events, whereas the “guests” were unique to only one event. Before learning the conversations, participants were scanned while viewing images or names of the (famous) individuals to be used in the study to obtain person-specific activity patterns. After learning all the conversations over a week, participants were scanned for a second time while they recalled each event multiple times. We found that during recall, person-specific activity patterns within the posterior midline network were reinstated for the hosts of the shows but not the guests, and that reinstatement of the hosts was significantly stronger than the reinstatement of the guests. These findings demonstrate that it is the more generic, familiar, and predictable elements of an event that dominate its neural representation compared with the more idiosyncratic, event-defining, elements.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Brain, Brain Mapping, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Memory, Episodic, Mental Recall
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 07:53
Last Modified: 20 May 2022 09:47

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