Semantic Apparatus – Feature-specific reaction times reveal a semanticisation of memories over time and with repeated remembering

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Everything you need to know about Implicit Reaction Time (IRTs) – Dr Gemma  Calvert

Abstract by Julia Lifanov,Juan Linde-Domingo &Maria Wimber 

Memories are thought to undergo an episodic-to-semantic transformation in the course of their consolidation. We here test if repeated recall induces a similar semanticisation, and if the resulting qualitative changes in memories can be measured using simple feature-specific reaction time probes. Participants studied associations between verbs and object images, and then repeatedly recalled the objects when cued with the verb, immediately and after a two-day delay. Reaction times during immediate recall demonstrate that conceptual features are accessed faster than perceptual features. Consistent with a semanticisation process, this perceptual-conceptual gap significantly increases across the delay. A significantly smaller perceptual-conceptual gap is found in the delayed recall data of a control group who repeatedly studied the verb-object pairings on the first day, instead of actively recalling them. Our findings suggest that wake recall and offline consolidation interact to transform memories over time, strengthening meaningful semantic information over perceptual detail.

Publication: Nature Communication (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: 26 May 2021 Doi: (Plenty more sections, figures and references in this article)

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