The Role of Semantic Surprisal for Memory Formation and Retrieval

Project A6

Project A6 explores how different aspects of semantic suprisal modulate the formation and retrieval of episodic memories as indexed by behavioral and ERP measures. In a first step we will operationalize semantic surprisal by means of expectedness, unexpectedness or incongruence of a target word in a given sentence context and investigate how this modulates the encoding of memories for these words and the respective ERP measures.

Next it will be explored whether semantic surprisal not only modulates memory encoding but also affects memory retrieval processes and whether these effects can be generalized to implicit memory processes. Building on these findings it will be investigated whether semantic surprisal set by new fictional knowledge does support the formation of new memories in a similar way as previously established world knowledge does. Finally it will be explored how contextual factors influence the effects of semantic surprisal on memory formation and retrieval.

Keywords: memory formation