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Two is better than one: distinct roles for familiarity and recollection in retrieving palimpsest memories
Cristina Savin · Peter Dayan · Mate Lengyel

Wed Dec 14 08:45 AM -- 02:59 PM (PST) @

Storing a new pattern in a palimpsest memory system comes at the cost of interfering with the memory traces of previously stored items. Knowing the age of a pattern thus becomes critical for recalling it faithfully. This implies that there should be a tight coupling between estimates of age, as a form of familiarity, and the neural dynamics of recollection, something which current theories omit. Using a normative model of autoassociative memory, we show that a dual memory system, consisting of two interacting modules for familiarity and recollection, has best performance for both recollection and recognition. This finding provides a new window onto actively contentious psychological and neural aspects of recognition memory.

Author Information

Cristina Savin (University of Cambridge)
Peter Dayan (Gatsby Unit, UCL)

I am Director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London. I studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge and then did a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, specialising in associative memory and reinforcement learning. I did postdocs with Terry Sejnowski at the Salk Institute and Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto, then became an Assistant Professor in Brain and Cognitive Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to UCL.

Mate Lengyel (University of Cambridge)

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