Description of Research
Operating as a normal human being relies heavily on the ability to remember details of previous experiences or events ('episodic memory'). The episodic memory group in the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience performs research that aims to increase our understanding of the cognitive processes that underlie this type of long-term memory, and the brain activity that supports it. Experiments are conducted in which brain activity is recorded while young adult volunteers perform psychological tasks designed to tap into aspects of episodic memory. The recorded brain activity is used to trace both the formation of episodic memories and their subsequent retrieval. The experiments combine the strengths of three neuroimaging techniques: EEG, fMRI, and TMS. At the moment, the group focuses on three specific research questions:
(1) What is the role of state- versus item-related neural activity in episodic memory?
(2) How does the degree of compatibility between encoding and retrieval operations influence neural activity underlying episodic memory?
(3) Which neural activity is necessary for, and not merely incidental to, effective episodic memory functioning?