Princeton University Library Catalog

The Temporal Dynamics of Contextual Memory

Wilcox, Elizabeth [Browse]
Senior thesis
Cohen, Jonathan [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
76 pages
Summary note:
The ability to hold context information in memory is crucial to processes in everyday life, such as deciding whether to stop at a red light or even reading this sentence. Recent literature has explored deficits in context memory in certain neuropsychological disorders, but has not addressed the dynamics of context memory processes over time. Using a novel, parametric manipulation of the retention interval on the AX-Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT), this study examined the dynamics of the encoding, maintenance, and retrieval processes of context memory. This study used a model of the task based on a theory of decision-making under changing circumstances to create specific hypotheses of the shape of the curve for experiment 1; it employed a metaanalysis of previous AX-CPT literature to create hypotheses for experiment 2. The results of both experiments showed that participants became faster and more accurate with increasing retention interval duration, a result contrary to the hypotheses generated both by the model and the meta-analysis. Differences in preparation of the contextual cue and probe-based retrieval processes are discussed as possible explanations for the discrepancy in results. These findings of the specific dynamics of context memory processes may help reveal what is driving disordered functioning as well as inform future models of the memory system.