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In Person Special Seminar: Prioritization of Episodic Representations During Memory Encoding

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Gene Brewer, Ph.D.

Gene Brewer, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
Arizona State University

In Person Seminar: Prioritization of Episodic Representations During Memory Encoding

Date: Aug. 22, 2023

Time:  11 a.m.

About this Seminar

Presumably because of capacity limits, some events are prioritized over others for encoding into long-term memory. Preferential encoding of memories based on reward value is thought to depend on dopaminergic (DA) inputs to the hippocampus from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Dr. Brewer’s research has contributed to a body of research developing behavioral paradigms to quantify value-directed remembering (VDR) at the individual participant level. Stable individual differences exist in value-based prioritization, and reward value selectively enhances recollection of stimuli with associated source content. Determining whether these memory benefits depend on modulatory effects of DA has depended on indirect tests using EEG or MRI. Both methods have contributed to an established set of empirical tools and results consistent with a role for DA in modulating hippocampal responses that underlie prioritized encoding of rewarding events. However, proving that DAergic inputs underlie value-based prioritization of memory in people requires direct recording of dopamine in the hippocampus, which has not yet been achieved. In this talk, Dr. Brewer will discuss his team’s prior and current research aimed at addressing this gap in the literature. 

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