Knowledge acquisition during exam preparation improves memory and modulates memory formation
Title: Knowledge acquisition during exam preparation improves memory and modulates memory formation
Publisher: Soc Neuroscience
Citation: Journal of neuroscience, 2016, Vol. 36, No. 31, pp. 8103-8111
According to the schema-relatedness hypothesis, new experiences that make contact with existing schematic knowledge are more easily encoded and remembered than new experiences that do not. Here we investigate how real-life gains in schematic knowledge affect the neural correlates of episodic encoding, assessing medical students 3 months before and immediately after their final exams. Human participants were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging while encoding associative information that varied in relatedness to medical knowledge (face-diagnosis vs face-name pairs). As predicted, improvements in memory performance over time were greater for face-diagnosis pairs (high knowledge-relevance) than for face-name pairs (low knowledge-relevance). Improved memory for face-diagnosis pairs was associated with smaller subsequent memory effects in the anterior hippocampus, along with increased functional connectivity between the anterior hippocampus and left middle temporal gyrus, a region important for the retrieval of stored conceptual knowledge. The decrease in the anterior hippocampus subsequent memory effect correlated with knowledge accumulation, as independently assessed by a web-based learning platform with which participants studied for their final exam. These findings suggest that knowledge accumulation sculpts the neural networks associated with successful memory formation, and highlight close links between knowledge acquired during studying and basic neurocognitive processes that establish durable memories.
Subject: Educational technology; FMRI; Hippocampus; Middle temporal gyrus; Prior knowledge; Schema; Prefrontal Cortex; Brain Activity; Schema; Connectivity; Neuroscience; Hippocampal; Retrieval; Representation; Consolidation; Information
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