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The role of spatial boundaries in shaping long-term event representations

Horner, AJ; Bisby, JA; Wang, A; Bogus, K; Burgess, N; (2016) The role of spatial boundaries in shaping long-term event representations. Cognition , 154 pp. 151-164. 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.013. Green open access

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Abstract

When remembering the past, we typically recall 'events' that are bounded in time and space. However, as we navigate our environment our senses receive a continuous stream of information. How do we create discrete long-term episodic memories from continuous input? Although previous research has provided evidence for a role of spatial boundaries in the online segmentation of our sensory experience within working memory, it is not known how this segmentation contributes to subsequent long-term episodic memory. Here we show that the presence of a spatial boundary at encoding (a doorway between two rooms) impairs participants' later ability to remember the order that objects were presented in. A sequence of two objects presented in the same room in a virtual reality environment is more accurately remembered than a sequence of two objects presented in adjoining rooms. The results are captured by a simple model in which items are associated to a context representation that changes gradually over time, and changes more rapidly when crossing a spatial boundary. We therefore provide the first evidence that the structure of long-term episodic memory is shaped by the presence of a spatial boundary and provide constraints on the nature of the interaction between working memory and long-term memory.

Type: Article
Title: The role of spatial boundaries in shaping long-term event representations
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.013
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.013
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Computational modelling, Episodic memory, Event segmentation, Spatial memory, Virtual reality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499794
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