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Strategic control processes in episodic memory and beyond

The evaluation of past experience is influenced both by the strength of retrieved memories and factors in the immediate retrieval environment, including emphasised goals and cued expectations. However, the laboratory study of episodic memory has neglected such environmental influences, despite their overt contribution to real- world decision outcomes. The aim of this PhD thesis was to rectify this neglect, and clarify the interaction of memory evidence and environmental strategies in the service of strategic memory control. A related aim was to investigate whether control processes identified in the isolated domain of episodic memory in fact performed a more general or “cross-domain” function. An initial series of behavioural experiments (Experiments 1-3) elucidated an overlooked source of strategic bias in the standard recognition environment –implicit goal emphasis imparted by question format. Experiment 4 investigated whether the question bias was commonly enacted across different domains of evaluation, yielding modest evidence in favour of this underlying cross-domain function. Experiment 5 instantiated more explicit manipulation of goal emphasis and cued expectation, and recovered independent and opposing strategic effects of these two environmental factors, emerging across episodic and non-episodic domains. Experiment 6 employed a simultaneous EEG-fMRI approach to elucidate the neural correlates of memory control, identifying a modulation of the late positive event- related potential during the resolution of mnemonic conflict, which was sourced to BOLD variation in regions of the rostral cingulate zone and intraparietal sulcus. Experiment 7 used pupillometry to examine pupil-linked autonomic systems that have also been implicated in memory control, and isolated two distinct components of the dilation response evoked during environmental conflict –an “early amplitude” unexpected familiarity effect and a “trailing slope” uncertainty effect. The findings illuminate the cross-domain underpinnings of an adaptive memory control system, evidenced in behaviour and across different functional neuroimaging modalities, and across episodic and non-episodic domains of evaluation.
Date January 2015
CreatorsMill, Ravi Dev
ContributorsO'Connor, Akira
PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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