Events / CNI Seminar: Emily Cowan

CNI Seminar: Emily Cowan

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Barchi Library (140 John Morgan Building), 3620 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Emily Cowan
Temple University


The formation and consolidation of adaptive memories


To be remembered, new memories must be stabilized through a process known as memory consolidation, which occurs during periods following an experience, such as sleep. However, as we navigate the world, we encounter far more information than we can possibly remember. It is therefore adaptive for memory systems to prioritize the retention of goal-relevant, meaningful information to optimize the repetition or avoidance of similar events in the future. To be adaptive, memory systems must also be able to integrate across related experiences to build up higher-order knowledge about the world. In this talk, I’ll present research examining how memory systems selectively encode, stabilize, and transform new experiences to form such adaptive memories. I’ll discuss evidence from several studies that suggest consolidation supports the prioritization and transformation of memories, as measured with behavior, functional neuroimaging, and sleep polysomnography. I’ll also discuss how the way in which information is initially learned can impact its long-term retention. Together these results suggest how everyday experiences can be translated into selective memories we can rely on to adaptively navigate the world.


A pizza lunch will be served.