Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: doi:10.22028/D291-23349
Title: The impact of categorical and thematic relations on associative recognition memory
Author(s): Kriukova, Olga
Language: English
Year of Publication: 2012
SWD key words: Assoziatives Gedächtnis
Semantische Relation
Ereigniskorreliertes Potenzial
Free key words: associative recognition
event-related potentials
semantic relations
DDC notations: 150 Psychology
Publikation type: Dissertation
Abstract: Human memory enables us to store and access general world knowledge, such as concepts, facts and interrelations, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, specific information about previously experienced life events. These two types of remembered information are potentially associated with distinct but closely interacting mnemonic systems, termed semantic and episodic memory (Tulving, 1985, 1993). A body of research (Bousfield, 1953; Bower & Winzenz, 1970; Gardiner, 1988; Naveh-Benjamin, Hussain, Guez, & Bar-On, 2003; Greve, Rossum, & Donaldson, 2007) addressing the question of how making use of semantic information might impact episodic recognition memory for previously encountered items and relations delivered compelling support for the beneficial effect of semantic memory access on subsequent episodic recognition.Of crucial importance is still the question which episodic recognition processes might be especially sensitive to semantic memory access. Episodic recognition memory is thought to be supported by two qualitatively different processes: a fast and relatively automatic familiarity enabling recognition of an item on the basis of the strength of the elicited mnemonic signal, and recollection, a slow threshold process leading to the retrieval of detailed information about the study episode (Mandler, 1980; Jacoby, 1991; Aggleton & Brown, 2006; Yonelinas, 2002; Eichenbaum, Yonelinas, & Ranganath, 2007). Recollection is known to be a primary process supporting associative recognition memory, i.e. recognition memory for relational information. Recent research, however, indicates that familiarity might also make a substantial contribution when to-be-learned items are integrated into a coherent structure by means of an existing semantic relation (Greve et al., 2007; Opitz & Cornell, 2006). The main goal of the present thesis was to explore how specific kinds of pre-existing semantic relations within to-be-remembered word pairs (categorical vs. thematic relations) might modulate the engagement of familiarity and recollection in associative recognition tasks as indexed by behavioral (Experiment 1 and 2) and electrophysiological (Experiment 1) measures. The findings support the conclusion that long-standing semantic relations act upon both familiarity and recollection. The pattern of modulation appears to depend on the type of the semantic relatedness with thematic relations giving more room for familiarity-based associative recognition and categorical relations relying upon both familiarity and recollection.The second direction of the project followed the cross-cultural research suggesting potential differences in reliance on relational information between Asians and Westerners in categorization and memory tasks (Unsworth & Pexman, 2005; Gutchess et al., 2006). This research proposed that different types of semantic relations might not guide task performance in East Asian participants, whereas they do so in Westerners. Experiments 3 and 4, that were procedurally similar to Experiments 1 and 2, investigated whether these putative differences might affect associative recognition processes in Chinese participants to the extent of altering the pattern of familiarity/recollection involvement observed in associative recognition tasks in German participants. The results showed that associative recognition is modulated by the type of relation in Chinese participants and, as with the German data, the pattern of results can be accounted for by differences in the nature of semantic structures thereby supporting the view of universal significance of categorical and thematic relations (Saalbach & Imai, 2007). Cross-cultural differences were also observed, but they seemed to primarily relate to the “default” processes underlying associative recognition. Whereas German participants flexibly engage familiarity and recollection in associative recognition, Chinese participants appear to mostly rely on recollection.The findings of the present thesis provide new insights into the relationship between semantic relations and contribution of familiarity and recollection to associative recognition. From the cross-cultural perspective, novel evidence is obtained tentatively suggesting that the nature of semantic relations might have somewhat similar effects on associative recognition in German and Chinese participants, even though basic processes underlying performance on such tasks could be different.
Die Arbeit untersucht den Einfluss von semantischen Relationen, bzw. kategorischen und thematischen Relationen, auf associatives Gedächtnis bei Deutschen und Chinesischen Probanden.
Link to this record: urn:nbn:de:bsz:291-scidok-49167
Advisor: Mecklinger, Axel
Date of oral examination: 29-Jun-2012
Date of registration: 7-Aug-2012
Faculty: HW - Fakultät für Empirische Humanwissenschaften und Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Department: HW - Psychologie
Collections:SciDok - Der Wissenschaftsserver der Universität des Saarlandes

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