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Effects of Narrative Structure and Agency on Memory
October 25 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Free
The Department of Cognitive Sciences’
Colloquia Series presents:
Janice Chen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of
Psychological & Brain Sciences
Johns Hopkins University
Effects of narrative structure and agency on memory
The world confronts our senses with a continuous stream of rapidly changing information. Yet, we experience life as a series of episodes or events, and in memory these pieces seem to become even further organized. How do we recall an give structure to this complex information? Recent studies have begun to examine these questions using naturalistic stimuli and behavior: subjects view audiovisual movies or read interactive stories, then freely recount their memories of the events. Within the default network, we find distinct brain activity patterns corresponding to individual events, which reappear during verbal recollection; memories and neural patterns are influenced by the network structure of links between events in the narrative, and these effects are modulated by agency. These observations construct a picture of how the brain supports our ability to comprehend and recall real-world events as they unfold continuously across time.