• INI
  • Projects
  • Episodic memory interactions with sensory and semantic systems
Episodic memory interactions with sensory and semantic systems
Collaborator: Prof. Dr Laurenz Wiskott

Episodic memory is akin to a mosaic assembled from different pieces of past experiences: the affective state, the context and participants of the event as well as sensory details. Episodic memories are far from flawless copies of the actual experiences, but rather reconstructions thereof. We hypothesize that reconstruction is based on representations in sensory and semantic systems and that the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe is critical for episodic memory because it performs integration of higher-order representations. We therefore study, on the one hand, how episodic memories are stored and retrieved in interaction with the sensory and semantic systems. On the other hand, we investigate how episodic memories influence these sensory and semantic systems. In particular, we have been able to show that episodic memory is more accurate when perceptual-semantic representations are better tuned to the statistics of the input. In the other direction, we found that replaying perceptual information from previous experiences in episodic memory facilitates the optimization of perceptual-semantic representations. Furthermore, we investigate how to dissociate the effect of sensory processing from that of memory operations in cognitive tasks such as recognition memory and visual discrimination.



  • A Model of Semantic Completion in Generative Episodic Memory
    Fayyaz, Z., Altamimi, A., Zoellner, C., Klein, N., Wolf, O. T., Cheng, S., & Wiskott, L.
    Neural Computation, 34(9), 1841–1870
  • 2021

  • A multistage retrieval account of associative recognition ROC curves
    Hakobyan, O., & Cheng, S.
    Learning and Memory, 28(11), 400–404
  • Recognition Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves: The Complex Influence of Input Statistics, Memory, and Decision-making
    Hakobyan, O., & Cheng, S.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33(6), 1032–1055
  • 2020

  • Improving sensory representations using episodic memory
    Görler, R., Wiskott, L., & Cheng, S.
    Hippocampus, 30(6), 638–656
  • 2019

  • How do memory modules differentially contribute to familiarity and recollection?
    Hakobyan, O., & Cheng, S.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 42, e288
  • 2018

  • The reduction of adult neurogenesis in depression impairs the retrieval of new as well as remote episodic memory
    Fang, J., Demic, S., & Cheng, S.
    PLOS ONE, 13(6), e0198406
  • The Interaction between Semantic Representation and Episodic Memory
    Fang, J., Rüther, N., Bellebaum, C., Wiskott, L., & Cheng, S.
    Neural Computation, 30(2), 293–332

The Institut für Neuroinformatik (INI) is a central research unit of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. We aim to understand the fundamental principles through which organisms generate behavior and cognition while linked to their environments through sensory systems and while acting in those environments through effector systems. Inspired by our insights into such natural cognitive systems, we seek new solutions to problems of information processing in artificial cognitive systems. We draw from a variety of disciplines that include experimental approaches from psychology and neurophysiology as well as theoretical approaches from physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and applied computer science, in particular machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer vision.

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D-44801 Bochum, Germany

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