Cognitive and neural processes underlying memory for time and context
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The aim of this thesis is to examine the underlying cognitive and neural processes at play during retrieval of temporal and contextual source information. This was assessed across three experimental chapters. In the first experimental chapter, Chapter 2, the neural loci of context associations were assessed. Rats trained on an odour-context association task were given lesions to either the Lateral Entorhinal Cortex (LEC) or sham lesions. After surgery, performance on the odour-context task was assessed. It was hypothesised that memory for previously learned odour-context associations would be impaired following LEC lesions but not sham lesions. The results supported this hypothesis, demonstrating impaired memory for the previously learned odour-context associations in the LEC lesion group compared to the Sham lesion. In Chapter 3, the underlying retrieval processes used to retrieve time and context in human memory was assessed across three experiments. It was hypothesised that time would be remembered accurately using both recollection and familiarity, while correct context memory should rely on recollection alone. Two out of the three experiments supported this hypothesis, demonstrating that temporal information can be retrieved using familiarity in certain instances. The final experimental Chapter 4 used fMRI to extend Chapter 3 and examine whether neural activity would be greater in regions associated with recollection during memory for context, while activity in familiarity-related regions would be higher during memory for time. Results revealed no support for these predictions with no regions linked to recollection showing greater context-related activity, and no regions previously linked to familiarity exhibiting increased activation as temporal information was retrieved. The results are discussed in relation to established recollection and familiarity frameworks and previous work examining the neural substrates supporting memory for time and context.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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