Expectancy-based mechanisms during language comprehension and their relation to memory formation and retrieval

Project A6

In Project A6 we use behavioural and electrophysiological measures to investigate how semantic surprisal in natural language contexts modulates learning and memory processes. Consistent with the pivotal role expectancy-based mechanisms play in online language comprehension, this project explores how these mechanisms are linked to memory formation and retrieval.

In three interrelated work packages, we want to take advantage of a predictive coding approach and explore how predictive processing shapes memory processes in different learning situations, i.e. declarative learning from prediction errors during the acquisition of an artificial grammar (WP 1), the acquisition of new knowledge and the role of intrinsic motivation (curiosity) (WP 2) and multilingual vocabulary learning (WP 3). In the final work package (WP 4), we plan to broaden our work on the mnemonic consequences of predictive processing from the level of single words to larger and more naturalistic texts by exploring the role of prediction errors for event segmentation in narrative reading. Taken together, we expect the combined outcome of these work packages to provide a detailed picture of the boundary conditions of how expectancy-based mechanisms during language processing shape memory processes and a comprehensive understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms by which confirmed and disconfirmed predictions affect the formation and retrieval of new episodic memories.

Keywords: memory formation