Sugandha Sharma, masters student graduate of the University of Waterloo's CTN, discusses her research and time in the laboratory of CTN Founding Director Chris Eliasmith as well as her current PhD research at MIT on the Generally Intelligent Podcast. Give it a listen.
Mechanisms of Familiarity Assessment in Humans
The ability to consciously recognize the prior occurrence of objects, people, or other aspects of the environment is critical to many aspects of adaptive behavior. Recognition memory can succeed in the absence of successful recollection of episodic detail about a pertinent past stimulus encounter. For example, we have all been in situations in which a person we interact with feels familiar, but we cannot conjure up any information as to where or when we met her before. The process that allows for recognition under such circumstances is often referred to as familiarity assessment.
In the present talk, I plan to review recent neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and psychophysiological research that aimed to shed light on the neural mechanisms that support familiarity and that shape its phenomenology. The work that I plan to discuss will speak to the following questions: How are memory representations that are tied to impressions of familiarity organized in the human brain? Can familiarity assessment be selectively affected by brain lesions? Does familiarity have an affective component?
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