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    The role of the frontal cortex in memory: an investigation of the Von Restorff effect

    Elhalal, Anat and Davelaar, Eddy J. and Usher, Marius (2014) The role of the frontal cortex in memory: an investigation of the Von Restorff effect. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8 , ISSN 1662-5161.

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    Evidence from neuropsychology and neuroimaging indicate that the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in human memory. Although frontal patients are able to form new memories, these memories appear qualitatively different from those of controls by lacking distinctiveness. Neuroimaging studies of memory indicate activation in the PFC under deep encoding conditions, and under conditions of semantic elaboration. Based on these results, we hypothesize that the PFC enhances memory by extracting differences and commonalities in the studied material. To test this hypothesis, we carried out an experimental investigation to test the relationship between the PFC-dependent factors and semantic factors associated with common and specific features of words. These experiments were performed using Free-Recall of word lists with healthy adults, exploiting the correlation between PFC function and fluid intelligence. As predicted, a correlation was found between fluid intelligence and the Von-Restorff effect (better memory for semantic isolates, e.g., isolate “cat” within category members of “fruit”). Moreover, memory for the semantic isolate was found to depend on the isolate's serial position. The isolate item tends to be recalled first, in comparison to non-isolates, suggesting that the process interacts with short term memory. These results are captured within a computational model of free recall, which includes a PFC mechanism that is sensitive to both commonality and distinctiveness, sustaining a trade-off between the two.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): PFC, frontal lobe, free recall, von restorff, distinctiveness, categorization, semantic memory, computational modeling
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 10:50
    Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 00:42


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