What is Cognitive Science

Parsing Memory: Identifying functional distinctions using neuroimaging, clinical models and pharmacological probes

Dr. Sarah Garfinkel

Thursday, September 16, 2010, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

University of Michigan, Department of Psychiatry

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Memories are subject to a variety of modifications. For example, memories can be distorted, selectively facilitated, or inhibited. These phenomena provide insights into underlying memory processes, expanding our traditional views of memory structure. In this talk I will describe functional distinctions within the memory system, identified using fMRI with pharmacological and clinical models, and will demonstrate how they contribute to modulations in memory. I will show how memory alterations in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can contribute to the etiology and maintenance of these disorders. Individuals with OCD symptomatology, for example, demonstrate an over-reliance on familiarity-based processing and increased false memories for threat. These memory modulations may contribute to the maintenance of checking behaviour.  We have also produced evidence that memory can be selectively facilitated by the stress hormone cortisol.  Using a fear conditioning paradigm and fMRI, we identified conditions that induce aberrant neural activity which might underlie the dominance of fear memories in PTSD. This ongoing work demonstrates how hormones, stress, and psychopathology can selectively alter memory processes, which not only gives us insight into psychiatric disorders, but also a window into functional distinctions within the memory system



Dr. Sarah Garfinkel

"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).