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Public Lecture - Professor Andrew Yonelinas


Wednesday 11 July 2018


2.00 pm - 3.30 pm followed by light refreshments


Lecture Theatre 4002 (Messel)
Sydney Nanoscience Hub
Physics Rd
The University of Sydney


The promiscuous hippocampus: The role of the medial temporal lobe in memory, perception and emotion.


Our ability to remember the important events that make up our lives is critically dependent on the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Recent work,however, has suggested that different subregions within the MTL may support distinct mnemonic processes and that they may play important roles in cognitive tasks beyond traditional tests of long term episodic memory. I will describe work showing that the hippocampus plays a central role in binding together and subsequently recollecting the different aspects that make up an episode or event, whereas other regions such as the perirhinal cortex can support familiarity-based memory discriminations even when recollection fails. In addition, I present evidence that the hippocampus is involved in supporting short-term memory and even visual perception, when those tasks involve high-resolution or complex bindings. I will then focus in the unique role of emotion in episodic memory and show that the amygdala supports recollection of emotional bindings that exhibit relatively slow forgetting compared to hippocampal bindings. Finally, I will examine the effects of acute stress on different MTL regions and present data showing that post-encoding stress can rescue memory from the effects of forgetting by acting as a mnemonic filter.


Andrew Yonelinas is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of California, Davis, USA. He is also affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, which seeks to understand the function of the human brain in health and in illness. He is also Associate Director of the Center for Mind and Brain, and Director of the Human Memory Lab, which aims to understand how memory works ... and why it often fails.

Yonelinas examines the processes underlying human memory. In order to characterize the functional nature of different memory processes he uses implicit and explicit tests as well as several 'second generation' procedures such as the process dissociation procedure, the independence remember/know procedure, and ROC modeling procedure. In order to determine the neural substrates of memory encoding and retrieval processes he i) examines memory-impaired patients such as amnesics and Alzheimer's patients, and ii) examines the physiological correlates of memory processes using neuroimaging techniques, such as event-related potentials and function magnetic resonance imaging. The goal of this work is to develop and test models of memory that address recent behavioral, neuropsychological and brain imaging data. Other research interests include studying action slips (i.e., habitual actions that interrupt intended actions) and examining the relationship between performance and conscious awareness.


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Robin Blumfield
Tel: +61 2 9850 4127

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