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Virtual fMRI brown bag: February 19, 2021

Please join us for a talk given by Jacob Bellmund, a Cognitive Neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.

The hippocampus constructs sequence memories that generalize temporal relations across sequences

Abstract: Memory recall is constructive in nature. The hippocampal-entorhinal region maps learned relations such as the sequential structure of events forming an episode. However, it is unclear whether representations of sequence relations reflect actively constructed event times, the event order, or elapsing time. Further, structure learning accounts predict temporal relations to generalize across similar sequences. Here, participants constructed times of events from multiple sequences based on infrequent cues and their experience of passing time. After learning, hippocampal event representations reflect constructed event times beyond the effects of order and real time. Temporal relations also systematically shape representations of events belonging to different sequences. However, how temporal relations are represented depends on whether events are from the same sequence or not. These findings demonstrate that hippocampal sequence representations reflect mnemonically constructed relations. The hippocampus reconciles precise memories of a specific sequence with the generalization of temporal relations across different sequences with a shared structure.