The Relation between Gist and Item Memory Over a Month

AbstractMemory requires both individuation of specific episodes as well as extraction of gist across related experiences. This study developed a spatial memory paradigm to track changes in item memory (memory for specific locations) and gist memory (estimate of the center of the locations) across a period of a month, and to measure the relation between these two forms of memory. We found that item memories decayed compared to gist memory after a month, yet there was a positive relationship between the two forms of memory that persisted. Moreover, item memories were biased towards gist memory only after a month. These findings together indicate that gist memory, initially extracted from item memories, gradually develops into a stable representation that can guide item memory retrieval over longer durations.

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