Superadditive memory strength for item and source recognition: The role of hierarchical relational binding in the medial temporal lobe

Arthur P. Shimamura, Thomas D. Wickens
2009 Psychological review  
Source memory depends on our ability to recollect contextual information-such as the time, place, feelings, and thoughts associated with a past event. It is acknowledged that the medial temporal lobe (MTL) plays a critical role in binding such episodic features. Yet, controversy exists over the nature of MTL binding-whether it contributes specifically to source recollection or whether it contributes equally to both item familiarity and source recollection. To resolve this issue, the authors
more » ... ue, the authors propose that the MTL acts to bind contextual features through a process of hierarchical relational binding. That is, by way of multiple levels of associative bindings (i.e., bindings of bindings), the MTL links episodic features in a superadditive manner. To account for this binding feature, the authors develop a recognition model that includes positively skewed distributions of memory strength. Such skewed distributions can account for many empirical findings and regularities of both item familiarity and source recollection.
doi:10.1037/a0014500 pmid:19159146 fatcat:qtra7ck5gbasbljq5ht2tj3yqi