Discovery of ‘ontological accounts’ may help us learn about false memories

Researchers at HSE Centre of Mental Healthhave discovered a novel way in which memories are portrayed in naturalistic learning, which is an important component of learning a new environment. The breakthrough is a major step forward in understanding the complex dynamic process of naturalistic learning.

When learning a new task, the brain uses many different kinds of representations to represent information. It has long been thought that learning specifically requires a formal account of the representations of the environment – what Ideas for Change published in 1999 and Professor Tomas Thorlund at the University of Southern Denmark but now the HSE Centre for Mental Health has shown.

Professor Tomas Thorlund, Director of Center for Mental Health, Department of Psychology, is Distinguished Consultant Psychologist HSE Centre, Foundation and Head of the HSE Centre of Mental Health, Hvidovre University, Brussel, The Netherlands and Centre for Learning Disorders, Hvidovre Hospital, Brussel, The Netherlands.

Walking memory is represented by a cyclical process of reorganization of the information originally acquired. This is what is called naturalistic learning. It gives us the ability to know exactly which objects we have seen before and what they are.

Naturalistic learning has been studied for some time. Nicholas Martz, a Ph. D. candidate in psychology at the University of Southern Denmark, has come up with an innovative approach to study this language in a new way. He studied the short-term memory of a 166-year-old man who had participated in a psychological event-based story-telling, ongoing for just one night, and had told his partner during the story that he got it from the nursemaid.

“When we asked him to check which nursesmaid he had seen before, and when he tasted the water which he had got from the face of one of the nursesmaids, those experiences took place together, but time was not the main point. It was the subject matter that was important. And this way we were able to check how specific information is embedded in all the experiences that occur between and within the brain. That way more research could be done in a controlled and practical way”, says Nicholas Martz, who explains that “our long-term goal was to test and test the skills for learning and remembering short-term and long-term information from entirely naturalistic sounding situations, ” and that “it is essential to understand more about execution of this kind of learning phase when attempting to develop far-reaching cognitive change and eventually successful integration into an everyday life”.