Episodic Memory
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Gianluca Amico ◽  
Tina Braun ◽  
Sabine Schaefer

AbstractResearch has shown benefits of physical exercise on memory performance when carried out before or after a memory task. The effects of concurrent physical exercise and particularly resistance exercise are still inconclusive. The current study investigates the influence of resistance exercise with two intensities (fast and slow squats) on performance in a wordlist learning task using a within-subject design. Sport students (N = 58, Mage = 23 years; 26 women) were trained in a mnemonic technique to encode word lists (method of loci). In each session they were asked to encode two lists, each consisting of 20 words. During encoding, participants either performed one squat per word (fast-squat-condition), one squat every second word (slow-squat-condition), or stayed seated (control-condition). Participants performed three sessions for each condition, in counterbalanced order. Heart rates differed significantly according to exercise intensity. Memory performances in the sitting condition were better, compared to the exercise conditions. Performance in sitting and the fast squat conditions improved similarly over time, while performance in the slow squat condition increased faster, and reached the level of the fast squat condition at the end of the study phase. We conclude that light to moderate resistance exercise while working on an episodic memory task may rather represent a dual-task situation (= two tasks that compete for attentional resources). Especially doing a squat every second word may represent an inhibition task that people have to get used to. Future studies should include biochemical markers of arousal and neuronal plasticity in addition to heart rate.

2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Sidni A. Justus ◽  
Patrick S. Powell ◽  
Audrey Duarte

AbstractResearch on memory in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) finds increased difficulty encoding contextual associations in episodic memory and suggests executive dysfunction (e.g., selective attention, cognitive flexibility) and deficient metacognitive monitoring as potential contributing factors. Findings from our lab suggest that age-related impairments in selective attention contribute to those in context memory accuracy and older adults tended to show dependence in context memory accuracy between relevant and irrelevant context details (i.e., hyper-binding). Using an aging framework, we tested the effects of selective attention on context memory in a sample of 23 adults with ASD and 23 typically developed adults. Participants studied grayscale objects flanked by two types of contexts (color, scene) on opposing sides and were told to attend to only one object-context relationship, ignoring the other context. At test, participants made object and context recognition decisions and judgment of confidence decisions allowing for an evaluation of context memory performance, hyper-binding, and metacognitive performance for context judgments in a single task. Results showed that adults with ASD performed similarly to typically developed adults on all measures. These findings suggest that context memory performance is not always disrupted in adults with ASD, even when demands on selective attention are high. We discuss the need for continued research to evaluate episodic memory in a wider variety of adults with ASD.

2021 ◽  
pp. 107385842110493
Hal Blumenfeld

Consciousness is a fascinating field of neuroscience research where questions often outnumber the answers. We advocate an open and optimistic approach where converging mechanisms in neuroscience may eventually provide a satisfactory understanding of consciousness. We first review several characteristics of conscious neural activity, including the involvement of dedicated systems for content and levels of consciousness, the distinction and overlap of mechanisms contributing to conscious states and conscious awareness of transient events, nonlinear transitions and involvement of large-scale networks, and finally the temporal nexus where conscious awareness of discrete events occurs when mechanisms of attention and memory meet. These considerations and recent new experimental findings lead us to propose an inclusive hypothesis involving four phases initiated shortly after an external sensory stimulus: (1) Detect—primary and higher cortical and subcortical circuits detect the stimulus and select it for conscious perception. (2) Pulse—a transient and massive neuromodulatory surge in subcortical-cortical arousal and salience networks amplifies signals enabling conscious perception to proceed. (3) Switch—networks that may interfere with conscious processing are switched off. (4) Wave—sequential processing through hierarchical lower to higher cortical regions produces a fully formed percept, encoded in frontoparietal working memory and medial temporal episodic memory systems for subsequent report of experience. The framework hypothesized here is intended to be nonexclusive and encourages the addition of other mechanisms with further progress. Ultimately, just as many mechanisms in biology together distinguish living from nonliving things, many mechanisms in neuroscience synergistically may separate conscious from nonconscious neural activity.

2021 ◽  
Vol 7 (41) ◽  
Jing Liu ◽  
Hui Zhang ◽  
Tao Yu ◽  
Liankun Ren ◽  
Duanyu Ni ◽  

PLoS ONE ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 16 (10) ◽  
pp. e0257738
Claudia Picard-Deland ◽  
Tore Nielsen ◽  
Michelle Carr

The phenomenon of dreaming about the laboratory when participating in a sleep study is common. The content of such dreams draws upon episodic memory fragments of the participant’s lab experience, generally, experimenters, electrodes, the lab setting, and experimental tasks. However, as common as such dreams are, they have rarely been given a thorough quantitative or qualitative treatment. Here we assessed 528 dreams (N = 343 participants) collected in a Montreal sleep lab to 1) evaluate state and trait factors related to such dreams, and 2) investigate the phenomenology of lab incorporations using a new scoring system. Lab incorporations occurred in over a third (35.8%) of all dreams and were especially likely to occur in REM sleep (44.2%) or from morning naps (48.4%). They tended to be related to higher depression scores, but not to sex, nightmare-proneness or anxiety. Common themes associated with lab incorporation were: Meta-dreaming, including lucid dreams and false awakenings (40.7%), Sensory incorporations (27%), Wayfinding to, from or within the lab (24.3%), Sleep as performance (19.6%), Friends/Family in the lab (15.9%) and Being an object of observation (12.2%). Finally, 31.7% of the lab incorporation dreams included relative projections into a near future (e.g., the experiment having been completed), but very few projections into the past (2.6%). Results clarify sleep stage and sleep timing factors associated with dreamed lab incorporations. Phenomenological findings further reveal both the typical and unique ways in which lab memory elements are incorporated de novo into dreaming. Identified themes point to frequent social and skillful dream scenarios that entail monitoring of one’s current state (in the lab) and projection of the self into dream environments elaborated around local space and time. The findings have implications for understanding fundamental dream formation mechanisms but also for appreciating both the advantages and methodological pitfalls of conducting laboratory-based dream collection.

2021 ◽  
Hamid Niknazar ◽  
Sara Mednick ◽  
Paola Malerba

Slow oscillations (SOs, <1Hz) during non-rapid eye movement sleep are thought to reflect sleep homeostasis and support memory consolidation. Yet, the fundamental properties of SOs and their impact on neural network communication are not understood. We used effective connectivity to estimate causal information flow across the electrode manifold during SOs and found two peak of information flow in specific phases of the SO. We show causal communication during non-rapid eye movement sleep peaks during specific phases of the SO, but only across long distances. We confirmed this prediction by cluster analysis demonstrating greater flow in global, compared with local, SOs. Finally, we tested the functional significance of these results by examining which SO properties supported overnight episodic memory improvement, with the underlying assumption that memory consolidation would engage global, long-range communication. Indeed, episodic memory improvement was predicted only by the SO properties with greatest causal information flow, i.e., longest distances between sinks and sources and global, but not local, SOs. These findings explain how NREM sleep (characterized as a state of low brain connectivity) leverages SO-induced selective information flow to coordinate a wide network of brain regions during memory formation.

Marco Bucci ◽  
Konstantinos Chiotis ◽  
Agneta Nordberg ◽  

AbstractFor early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to find biomarkers with predictive value for disease progression and clinical manifestations, such as cognitive decline. Individuals can now be profiled based on their biomarker status for Aβ42 (A) or tau (T) deposition and neurodegeneration (N). The aim of this study was to compare the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and imaging (PET/MR) biomarkers in each ATN category and to assess their ability to predict longitudinal cognitive decline. A subset of 282 patients, who had had at the same time PET investigations with amyloid-β and tau tracers, CSF sampling, and structural MRI (18% within 13 months), was selected from the ADNI dataset. The participants were grouped by clinical diagnosis at that time: cognitively normal, subjective memory concern, early or late mild cognitive impairment, or AD. Agreement between CSF (amyloid-β-1-42(A), phosphorylated-Tau181(T), total-Tau(N)), and imaging (amyloid-β PET (florbetaben and florbetapir)(A), tau PET (flortaucipir)(T), hippocampal volume (MRI)(N)) positivity in ATN was assessed with Cohen’s Kappa. Linear mixed-effects models were used to predict decline in the episodic memory. There was moderate agreement between PET and CSF for A biomarkers (Kappa = 0.39–0.71), while only fair agreement for T biomarkers (Kappa ≤ 0.40, except AD) and discordance for N biomarkers across all groups (Kappa ≤ 0.14) was found. Baseline PET tau predicted longitudinal decline in episodic memory irrespective of CSF p-Tau181 positivity (p ≤ 0.02). Baseline PET tau and amyloid-β predicted decline in episodic memory (p ≤ 0.0001), but isolated PET amyloid-β did not. Isolated PET Tau positivity was only observed in 2 participants (0.71% of the sample). While results for amyloid-β were similar using CSF or imaging, CSF and imaging results for tau and neurodegeneration were not interchangeable. PET tau positivity was superior to CSF p-Tau181 and PET amyloid-β in predicting cognitive decline in the AD continuum within 3 years of follow-up.

Molly S. Hermiller ◽  
Shruti Dave ◽  
Stephanie L. Wert ◽  
Stephen VanHaerents ◽  
Sandra Weintraub ◽  

2021 ◽  
Jianian Hua ◽  
Jianye Dong ◽  
Yueping Shen

Introduction: To learn the trajectories of cognitive function before and after stroke among Chinese participants. Method: During the seven-year follow-up, 401 participants survived incident stroke and 7551 remained stroke free. Cognitive function was assessed by a global cognition score, which included episodic memory, visuospatial abilities, and executive function. A linear mixed model was developed to explore the repeated measurements. Result: There was no significant difference between the rate of pre-stroke cognitive decline and the decline rate of cognition among stroke-free participants. Among the stroke survivors, the acute decline was -0.123 and -0.187 SD/y in cognitive domains of episodic memory and visuospatial ability, respectively. Executive function did not decline acutely after stroke. In the years after stroke, the decline rate of global cognition was 0.074 SD/y faster than the rate before stroke. The additional decline rate of episodic memory and executive function was 0.043 and 0.061 SD/y, respectively. The rate of visuospatial ability did not change after stroke. Conclusion: Among Chinese stroke survivors, incident stroke was associated with acute decline in episodic memory and visuospatial abilities, and accelerated decline in episodic memory, orientation, attention, and calculation. Cognitive training may help alleviate post-stroke cognitive impairment.

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