Temporal contexts: Filling the gap between episodic memory and associative learning

Matute, Helena, Lipp, Ottmar V., Vadillo, Miguel A. and Humphreys, Michael S. (2011) Temporal contexts: Filling the gap between episodic memory and associative learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140 4: 660-673. doi:10.1037/a0023862

Author Matute, Helena
Lipp, Ottmar V.
Vadillo, Miguel A.
Humphreys, Michael S.
Title Temporal contexts: Filling the gap between episodic memory and associative learning
Journal name Journal of Experimental Psychology: General   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0096-3445
Publication date 2011-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0023862
Volume 140
Issue 4
Start page 660
End page 673
Total pages 14
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract People can create temporal contexts, or episodes, and stimuli that belong to the same context can later be used to retrieve the memory of other events that occurred at the same time. This can occur in the absence of direct contingency and contiguity between the events, which poses a challenge to associative theories of learning and memory. Because this is a learning and memory problem, we propose an integrated approach. Theories of temporal contexts developed in the memory tradition provide interesting predictions that we test using the methods of associative learning to assess their generality and applicability to different settings and dependent variables. In 4 experiments, the integration of these 2 areas allows us to show that (a) participants spontaneously create temporal contexts in the absence of explicit instructions; (b) cues can be used to retrieve an old temporal context and the information associated with other cues that were trained in that context; and (c) the memory of a retrieved temporal context can be updated with information from the current situation that does not fit well with the retrieved memory, thereby helping participants to best adapt their behavior to the future changes of the environment.
Keyword Associative learning
Episodic memory
Temporal contexts
Paired associate
Predictive learning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Sun, 18 Mar 2012, 12:42:43 EST by Mrs Alison Pike on behalf of School of Psychology