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Fast Memory Integration Facilitated by Schema Consistency

By Qiong Zhang, Vencislav Popov, Griffin E. Koch, Regina C. Calloway, Marc N. Coutanche

Posted 25 Jan 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/253393

Many of our everyday decisions are based not only on memories of direct experiences, but on memories that are integrated across multiple distinct experiences. Sometimes memory integration between existing memories and newly learnt information occurs rapidly, without requiring inference at the time of a decision. Such fast memory integration is known to be supported by the hippocampus but not the neocortex. In this study, we explore an alternative mechanism of fast memory integration, through related prior knowledge (i.e., schema), which is associated with neocortical learning. Paired associates were selected to be schema consistent or inconsistent, and confirmed with a latent semantic analysis of text corpora. We observed that after enabling fast learning by using material that is consistent with a schema, faster memory integration can occur. This result suggests that the hippocampus-mediated integration of new information is not the only available mechanism that supports fast memory integration.

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