Full course description
Classic memory theories suggest that our experiences are consolidated into long-term memory into a ‘permafrosted’ form, which does not change. Recent neurobiological and cognitive research has resurrected an old alternative notion that all memories – independent of their type or age – remain vulnerable to change. Rather than permafrosted, stored memories can change from an inactive state to an active state during retrieval, in which new information can be added, old information be changed or existing representations be strengthened. These findings have important ramifications both for a fundamental understanding of how the brain memorizes experiences, as well as for practical applications in which memory manipulations are wanted, such as in skill learning, education and therapies to reduce the impact of traumatic memories. In this elective, we will discuss the cognitive (e.g., conditioning, skill learning, interference paradigms) and neurobiological (e.g., long-term potentiation and molecular neuroscience, brain anatomy, hippocampus) substrates of memory and how they can be changed, and discuss relevant research methods and behavioural paradigms to study memory manipulation. Further, we will discuss how these principles and methods can be applied in fields of education, cognitive enhancement and clinical therapy. This elective is meant for students who have an interest in fundamental as well as applied aspects of memory research. A strong interest in research methods, cognitive science or neuroscience is highly recommended.
- learn about neurobiological principles of learning and memory;
- discuss, learn about and understand research methods of memory manipulation;
- will translate fundamental research findings to applied sciences (e.g., clinical, educational);
- learn about how memory interacts with other important cognitive domains, such as attention, perception, decision-making and action;
- to some extent apply methods of memory manipulation.
There are no prerequisites, but a strong interest in research methods, cognitive science and/or neuroscience of memory is highly recommended.