IAS Seminar by Dr Aidan Horner, University of York.
Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash.
Forgetting is often conceptualised as a unitary process; we typically think of forgetting as following a specific forgetting function and being caused by either decay or interference. Recent research has suggested that both when and how forgetting occurs depends on what is being forgotten. For example, the forgetting function of episodic events appears to be linear (Fisher & Radvansky, 2019), which differs from the classic logarithmic forgetting curve (Ebbinghaus, 1885). Related, whether forgetting occurs via interference or decay may depend on the representation being retrieved (Sadeh et al., 2016). We recently proposed that episodes are represented across a neural hierarchy, and that forgetting differs both qualitatively and quantitatively across the levels in this hierarchy (Andermane et al., 2021). The framework predicts a qualitatively different pattern of forgetting for events relative to object features, with events being forgotten in a more holistic ‘all-or-none’ manner and object features being forgotten in a more fragmented manner. I will present experiments that test this prediction, suggesting that events are forgotten in a holistic manner, whereas object features are forgotten in a more fragmented manner. Our research challenges orthodox views of forgetting and highlights that forgetting is a complex non-unitary process.
Andermane, N., Joensen, B.H., & Horner, A.J., (2021) Forgetting across a hierarchy of episodic representations, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 67, 50-57.
Berens, S.C., Richards, B.A., & Horner, A.J., (2020) Dissociating memory accessibility and precision in forgetting, Nature Human Behaviour, 4, 866–877.
Joensen, B.H., Gaskell, M.G., & Horner, A.J., (2020) United we fall: All-or-none forgetting of complex episodic events, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(2), 230-248.