Interactions between goal states, attention, and memory in episodic remembering

Kevin Madore

(Stanford University)

Please LOG IN to view the video.

Date: June 3, 2019


Moment-to-moment interactions between goal states, attention, and episodic memory retrieval may influence when individuals remember and when they forget. We recorded concurrent scalp EEG and pupillometry during an encoding/retrieval paradigm with 80 young adults to examine how (a) multimodal indices of attentional lapses (e.g., pre-trial increases in alpha power and decreases in theta power and pupil diameter) relate to goal-state representation and episodic memory, and how (b) trait differences in sustained attention and related constructs may contribute to these relationships. At encoding, participants performed two tasks, classifying individual objects on either a conceptual or perceptual dimension. At retrieval, participants oriented to one of three retrieval goals (concept before? vs. percept before? vs. new item?) and then were cued with an old or new object and made the retrieval judgment. We examined how trial-by-trial tonic fluctuations in alpha (8-12Hz) and theta (4-7Hz) oscillatory power and in pupil diameter (a) before orienting to the retrieval goal and (b) before viewing the object and making the retrieval judgment affect accuracy. Across goal states, retrieval performance was predicted by fluctuations in alpha and theta power and pupil diameter during the 1000ms before goal orienting and during the 1000ms before the retrieval cue. Pre-goal and pre-retrieval mean alpha power were significantly higher for misses relative to hits. In addition, mean pre-goal theta power and pupil diameter were significantly lower for misses relative to hits. Pre-retrieval variability in pupil diameter also predicted false alarms relative to correct rejections. Individual difference analyses further revealed that (a) self-reported levels of media multitasking, self-reported rates of spontaneous mind wandering, and behaviorally assayed commission error rates on the gradual-onset continuous performance test (gradCPT) significantly positively related to subject-level EEG and pupil metrics during the pre-goal and pre-retrieval epochs of the separate memory task. Media multitasking, commission error rates on the gradCPT, and subject-level EEG and pupil metrics were also significantly negatively related to d’ (overall memory performance). These results highlight how preparatory attention and goal-state representation impact episodic remembering at the state and trait levels.

Created: Monday, June 3rd, 2019