Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Ph.D. Stanford University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University
Research Interests: Cognitive Neuroscience, Memory, Cognitive Control, fMRI Methods
Overview: I am interested in how our perceptual experiences are transformed into memories and how we recreate and selectively recall these experiences. Research in my lab makes use of behavioral and neuroimaging methods (primarily fMRI) with an emphasis on applying machine learning algorithms and multivariate pattern analyses to neuroimaging data in order to understand how memories are represented and transformed in distributed patterns of brain activity.
Some of the specific topics my lab addresses include: What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms that cause forgetting? How is competition between memories signaled and resolved in the brain during retrieval? How do we reduce interference between memories during encoding? Addressing these questions involves understanding the interactions and relative contributions of fronto-parietal cortex and medial temporal lobe structures.
Interference between overlapping memories is predicted by neural states during learning.
Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 25;10(1):5363
Authors: Chanales AJH, Dudukovic NM, Richter FR, Kuhl BA
One of the primary contributors to forgetting is interference from overlapping memories. Intuitively, this suggests-and prominent theoretical models argue-that memory interference is best avoided by encoding overlapping memories as if they were unrelated. It is therefore surprising that reactivation of older memories during new encoding has been associated with reduced memory interference. Critically, however, prior studies have not directly established why reactivation reduces interference. Here, we first developed a behavioral paradigm that isolates the negative influence that overlapping memories exert during memory retrieval. We then show that reactivating older memories during the encoding of new memories dramatically reduces this interference cost at retrieval. Finally, leveraging multiple fMRI decoding approaches, we show that spontaneous reactivation of older memories during new encoding leads to integration of overlapping memories and, critically, that integration during encoding specifically reduces interference between overlapping, and otherwise competing, memories during retrieval.
PMID: 31767880 [PubMed - in process]