Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Johns Hopkins University
Brain Dynamics Underlying Memory for Continuous Natural Events
The world confronts our senses with a continuous stream of rapidly changing information. Yet, we experience life as a series of episodes or events, and in memory these pieces seem to become even further organized. How do we recall and give structure to this complex information? Recent studies have begun to examine these questions using naturalistic stimuli and behavior: subjects view audiovisual movies and then freely recount aloud their memories of the events. Within the default network, we find brain activity patterns that are unique to individual events, and which reappear during verbal recollection; robust generalization of these event-specific patterns across people; systematic transformation of the activity patterns between encoding and recall; and memory effects driven by the network structure of links between events in a narrative. These observations construct a picture of how the default network contributes to our ability to comprehend and recall real-world events that unfold continuously across time.