Graduate Research Assistant, Kansas State University
General and prior knowledge for an event influences how that event is perceived and remembered.
One way individuals make sense of events in the world around them is by chunking the incoming information into meaningful and discrete units. This process is called event segmentation (i.e., breaking up events into units) and the information that may be used to do this comes from the environment (e.g., motion, lines, color) and semantic knowledge (e.g., prior knowledge for an activity). For example, if you watch someone make breakfast, you can use the information from the environment (e.g., kitchen, frying pan) and your knowledge of making breakfast (e.g., frying pans are used for bacon and eggs) to inform you of what is happening throughout the course of the breakfast event.
My research focuses on how our previous knowledge and experiences with different activities, or events, influences how we perceive and later remember those activities or events. Additionally, I am interested in how segmentation and memory change through normal aging and what the relationships are to other important cognitive processes, such as working memory and inhibition. My recent projects include investigating the influences of context and perspective-taking on event segmentation and recall. Both projects have found differences in segmentation and memory, suggesting semantic knowledge is important for event understanding.
This research is important because older adults are worse at segmenting compared to younger adults; however, semantic knowledge is maintained, and even improved, as we age. Older adults may be able to use semantic knowledge to compensate, which could lead to better segmentation and memory for events. In the long run, segmentation training could be implemented to improve older adults' segmentation abilities, which may lead to improved daily functioning and longer independence.
Abstract: A system and method for detecting events based on input data from a plurality of sources. The system may receive input from a plurality of sources containing information about possible events. A method for event detection involves pre-processing and normalizing a data input from a plurality of sources, extracting and disambiguating events and entities, associate event and entities, correlate events and entities associated from a data input to results from a different data sources to determine if an event has occurred, and store the detected events in a data storage.
Pub.: 03 Nov '15, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: Authors: Michiel van Elk ; Rolf Zwaan Article URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2153599X.2016.1150328?ai=4ef&mi=47tg1r&af=R Citation: Religion, Brain & Behavior Publication Date: 2016-06-01T06:20:15Z Journal: Religion, Brain & Behavior
Pub.: 01 Jun '16, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: The current study explored the persistence of event model organizations and how this influences the experience of interference during retrieval. People in this study memorized lists of sentences about objects in locations, such as "The potted palm is in the hotel." Previous work has shown that such information can either be stored in separate event models, thereby producing retrieval interference, or integrated into common event models, thereby eliminating retrieval interference. Unlike prior studies, the current work explored the impact of forgetting up to 2 weeks later on this pattern of performance. We explored three possible outcomes across the various retention intervals. First, consistent with research showing that longer delays reduce proactive and retroactive interference, any retrieval interference effects of competing event models could be reduced over time. Second, the binding of information into events models may weaken over time, causing interference effects to emerge when they had previously been absent. Third, and finally, the organization of information into event models could remain stable over long periods of time. The results reported here are most consistent with the last outcome. While there were some minor variations across the various retention intervals, the basic pattern of event model organization remained preserved over the two-week retention period.
Pub.: 19 May '17, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: Previous research examining the process of integrating spatial information has suggested that older adults retain an ability to use mental models despite declines in working memory capacity. In the current study of both older and young adults, the authors assessed whether mental model performance declines when working memory limitations affect the ability to retain the information needed to initially construct a model. Participants were presented with 3 spatial descriptions that could have been integrated to form a single mental model (e.g., K. Ehrlich & P. N. Johnson-Laird, 1982). Descriptions were continuous (i.e., AB-BC-CD) or discontinuous (i.e., AB-CD-BC) in various stimulus formats: sentences, word diagrams, and pictures. Across the experiments, older adults showed difficulty integrating information, especially in the discontinuous condition, unless pictures were used. The results suggest that older adults' use of mental models can be compromised when spatial information is presented verbally rather than visually.
Pub.: 19 Sep '07, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: Over the past several years, a number of studies have been done that assess processing at the level of the situation model in relation to issues of aging (Morrow, Leirer, & Altieri, 1992; Radvansky, Copeland, Berish, & Dijkstra, 2003; Radvansky, Copeland, & Zwaan, 2003; Stine-Morrow, Gagne, Morrow, & DeWall, 2004; Stine-Morrow, Morrow, & Leno, 2002). In contrast to age-related declines that have been demonstrated at surface form and textbase levels of processing, no such declines have been found in the creation and updating of situation models (Radvansky, 1999). This review focuses on the relevant factors in cognitive aging and situation model processing and places them within the larger frameworks of language processing, working memory capacity, and aging.
Pub.: 01 Dec '07, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: Mind wandering occurs when a person's stream of thought moves from the primary task to task-unrelated matters. Some theories of mind wandering suggest that it is caused by decreased attentional control associated with lower working memory (WM) capacity. Others suggest that it is caused by attention being directed toward internally generated thoughts and that it is associated with higher WM capacity. These ideas were assessed testing older adults because they have been argued to have reduced attentional control and lower WM capacity. The first account predicts that mind wandering should increase in older adults, while the second account predicts the opposite. Two experiments show that older adults exhibited a lower rate of mind wandering than younger adults. However, when using text interest as a covariate, the age difference in mind wandering disappeared. These results are further addressed in light of participants' current concerns and preserved situation model processing in cognitive aging.
Pub.: 13 Jun '12, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
Abstract: In the present experiment, we examined age differences in the focus of retrieval using a dual-list free recall paradigm. Younger and older adults studied 2 lists of unrelated words and recalled from the first list, the second list, or both lists. Older adults showed impaired use of control processes to recall items correctly from a target list and prevent intrusions. This pattern reflected a deficit in recollection verified using a process dissociation procedure. We examined the consequences of an age-related deficit in control processes on the focus of retrieval using measures of temporal organization. Evidence that older adults engaged a broader focus of retrieval than younger adults was shown clearly when participants were instructed to recall from both lists. First-recalled items originated from more distant positions across lists for older adults. We interpret older adults' broader retrieval orientation as consistent with their impaired ability to elaborate cues to constrain retrieval. These findings show that age-related deficits in control processes impair context reinstatement and the subsequent focus of retrieval to target episodes.
Pub.: 01 Sep '15, Pinned: 28 Jun '17
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