Dynamic arousal signals construct memories of time and events release_nigymh3f7fgkborxc3anxsvz64

by David Clewett, Camille Gasser, Lila Davachi


Everyday life unfolds continuously, yet we tend to remember past experiences as discrete event sequences or episodes. Although this phenomenon has been well documented, the brain mechanisms that support the transformation of continuous experience into memorable episodes remain unknown. Here we show that a sudden change in context, or event boundary, elicits a burst of autonomic arousal, as indexed by pupil dilation. These boundaries during dynamic experience also led to the segmentation of adjacent episodes in later memory, evidenced by changes in memory for the timing, order, and perceptual details of recent event sequences. Critically, we find that distinct cognitive components of this pupil response were associated with both subjective (temporal distance judgements) and objective (temporal order discrimination) measures of episodic memory, suggesting that multiple arousal-mediated cognitive processes help construct meaningful mnemonic events. Together, these findings reveal that arousal processes may play a fundamental role in everyday memory organization.
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Released as a post by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Release Date 2019-09-11
Publisher Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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