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Moment-by-moment tracking of naturalistic learning and its underlying hippocampo-cortical interactions

By Sebastian Michelmann, Amy R. Price, Bobbi Aubrey, Werner K Doyle, Daniel Friedman, Patricia Dugan, Orrin Devinsky, Sasha Devore, Adeen Flinker, Uri Hasson, Kenneth A. Norman

Posted 09 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.09.416438

Every day our memory system achieves a remarkable feat: We form lasting memories of stimuli that were only encountered once. Here we investigate such learning as it naturally occurs during story listening, with the goal of uncovering when and how memories are stored and retrieved during processing of continuous, naturalistic stimuli. In behavioral experiments we confirm that, after a single exposure to a naturalistic story, participants can learn about its structure and are able to recall upcoming words in the story. In patients undergoing electrocorticographic recordings, we then track mnemonic information in high frequency activity (70 - 200 Hz) as patients listen to a story twice. In auditory processing regions we demonstrate the rapid reinstatement of upcoming information after a single exposure; this neural measure of predictive recall correlates with behavioral measures of event segmentation and learning. Connectivity analyses on the neural data reveal information-flow from cortex to hippocampus at the end of events. On the second time of listening information-flow from hippocampus to cortex precedes moments of successful reinstatement.

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