Date: Wednesday February 1st
Location: DT2203 & Online
TITLE: The Role of Control Processes in the Dynamics of Episodic Memory Search
ABSTRACT: Thinking of one event often triggers recall of other events experienced nearby in time. We have previously argued that this Temporal Contiguity Effect arises from fundamental memory mechanisms that operate whenever episodic memories are encoded and retrieved. Consistent with this interpretation, the Temporal Contiguity Effect is pervasive and robust: almost without exception, studies that have looked for it, have found it. But perhaps we have not looked hard enough. The vast majority of these studies use deliberate list learning tasks, such tasks likely recruit many strategic control processes that would be unique to rote learning. Thus, one can doubt whether the contiguity effect should be elevated to the status of a general principle of memory as suggested by some theories. To explore this concern, I draw together data from recent work in my lab. This work shows that the Temporal Contiguity Effect is real—it is not a phenomenon of rote learning. However, the work also shows that we are a long way from a full understanding of how temporal associations interact with the control processes that govern memory encoding and search.
Bio: Karl Healey is a professor in the Psychology department at Michigan State University.