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Search in Space and Mind: Dynamics and Structure in Recall from Long-Term Memory Search

English title Search in Space and Mind: Dynamics and Structure in Recall from Long-Term Memory Search
Applicant Hertwig Ralph
Number 130397
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fakultät für Psychologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.04.2010 - 31.12.2014
Approved amount 207'433.00
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Keywords (8)

Long-term Memory; Animal Foraging; Knowledge Representation; foraging; recall; semantic; association; networks

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
How is search in memory like search in space? Research on the neural correlates of spatial foraging has identified key features that are shared with our ability to navigate mental representations (Hills, 2006). William James presaged these findings when he wrote "We make search in our memory for a forgotten idea, just as we rummage our house for a lost object" (1890, p. 654). But do we search inside our heads in much the same way that we search outside our heads?Recent developments in memory representation and modeling have made it possible to investigate this question more directly through empirical investigations of long-term memory search. These include the development of memory representations based on semantic space models (e.g., LSA: Landauer & Dumais, 1997; BEAGLE: Jones & Mewhort, 2007) and large-scale feature norms (McRae, Cree, Seidenberg, & McNorgan, 2005; Vinson & Vigliocco, 2008), and the construction of cognitive search architectures that navigate these internal representations, such as Search of Associative Memory (SAM: Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 1981) and ACT-R (Anderson, 1993). Together, these provide landscapes over which the mind can search for information. By combining representations with search models, we will investigate how people search long-term memory, how to improve recall, how this is related to executive control of cognition, and such phenomenon as the tip-of-the-tongue effect and retrieval-induced forgetting.This research will lay the groundwork for understanding how memory structure and search influences the differences between experts and novices, judgment and decision-making, and metaknowledge (i.e., what we know about our own knowledge). This research also sets the stage for investigations into part-list cueing, global stopping rules, and the role of semantic and representational structure on memory and learning. The investigations here also provide a foundation for pursuing neural and molecular targets for memory deficits in clinical populations.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Wormholes in Memory: Is memory one representation or many?
Wulff Dirk U. Hills Thomas T. Hertwig Ralph (2013), Wormholes in Memory: Is memory one representation or many?, in Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin Texas.
Dynamic Search and Working Memory in Social Recall
Hills TT, Pachur T (2012), Dynamic Search and Working Memory in Social Recall, in JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-LEARNING MEMORY AND COGNITION, 38(1), 218-228.
Optimal foraging in semantic memory.
Hills Thomas T, Jones Michael N, Todd Peter M (2012), Optimal foraging in semantic memory., in Psychological review, 119(2), 431-40.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Tagung Experimentell Arbeitender Psychologen (TEAP) Talk given at a conference Is memory one representation or many? Evidence for the dynamic use of multiple representations. 30.03.2014 Gießen, Germany Wulff Dirk;
32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society Poster Worm holes in memory: Is memory one representation or many? 20.07.2011 Boston, MA, Japan Hertwig Ralph; Wulff Dirk; Hills Thomas;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Durch die Wurmlöcher des Gedächtnisses Psychologie Heute International 2014

Awards

Title Year
3rd Place Student Poster Award 2011

Abstract

How is search in memory like or not like search in space? A key requirement to address this question is to have an objective method for representing the structure of memory. As early as 1944 Bousfield lamented that studies of long-term memory were constrained by our limited knowledge of the structure of these mental environments. However, recent developments in memory representation and modeling have made it possible to resolve this problem. These include the development of memory representations based on semantic space models (e.g., LSA: Landauer & Dumais, 1997; BEAGLE: Jones & Mewhort, 2007) and large-scale feature norms (McRae, Cree, Seidenberg, & McNorgan, 2005; Vinson & Vigliocco, 2008), and the construction of cognitive architectures capable of incorporating the structural information contained in these representations, such as Search of Associative Memory (SAM: Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 1981) and ACT-R (Anderson, 1993). By combining representations with search models, we can predict not only inter-item retrieval times, but also actual words and routes through memory representations. These advancements allow us to investigate common memory effects-such as retrieval-induced forgetting-and the commonalities of memory search with more general search in structured environments-such as spatial foraging.Research on the neural and ecological correlates of spatial foraging has identified key features that are shared with our ability to navigate mental representations-both in terms of the correlated structure of the environments and the shared structure in our neural anatomy (Hills, 2006). William James presaged these findings when he wrote “We make search in our memory for a forgotten idea, just as we rummage our house for a lost object” (1890, p. 654). One focal observation is that there are generalized neural search processes that adaptively modulate between exploitation and exploration in response to the reward structure of the environment. Both space and mind share structure, and that structure guides our search. To investigate the role of structure and strategy in long-term memory search, we propose to use free recall from natural categories to compare models of memory recovery using memory representations acquired from real perceptual and lexical environments. Both SAM and ACT-R are adaptable to this task, and provide a means for investigating alternative hypotheses regarding the structure of memory and the formulation and application of memory probes during recall. Using the representations and search models, we investigate the following questions: (i)Which models are best at predicting exemplar retrieval sequences from long-term memory?(ii)How does recovery time, domain size, and representational structure influence recall from different domains? (iii)Is there evidence for dynamic switching between local and global search strategies, and are these consistent with models of spatial foraging? (iv)Do people use one consolidated representation or different representations at different times when searching in long-term memory? (v)What are the roles of inhibition and interference as accounts of retrieval-induced forgetting in recall from long-term memory?
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