Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How Do I Remember That I Know You Know That I Know?

25.08.2011
“I’ll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time,” says the character Aaron in the 1987 movie Broadcast News. He and the woman he’s talking to have a lot of common ground, the shared territory that makes conversations work. Common ground is why, after you’ve mentioned Great-Aunt Mildred’s 80th birthday party once in a conversation, you can just refer to it as “the party.”

In a new study to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the authors pinpoint the type of memory required to make common ground work and confirm that people with a particular type of amnesia have trouble making common ground in conversation.

People with declarative memory impairment (amnesia) have good memories of what happened before their amnesia started, but they can’t form new declarative memories. That’s the kind of memory for facts and events, like what they did yesterday or the name of a person they just met. They can still form non-declarative memories, like learning how to ride a bike or other skills, says Rachael Rubin of the University of Illinois. For this study, she worked with five people with declarative memory amnesia and five healthy people. Rubin cowrote the new paper with Sarah Brown-Schmidt and Neal Cohen of the University of Illinois and Melissa Duff and Daniel Tranel of the University of Iowa.

Rubin and her colleagues tested people on whether they could keep up with common ground in conversation. In one condition, the participant and experimenter sat facing each other, looking at back-to-back monitors. Each monitor showed a 3×3 grid, which looked like a real set of cubbyholes between the two people, with objects in each compartment. The participant could see right through the top row of compartments. The middle row was blocked off, and the bottom row was blocked at the back so the participant could see what was in the compartments but the experimenter couldn’t. The experimenter asked the participant: “What object is in the bottom left?” The participant would answer – “an elephant.” After 40 seconds of conversation about something else, the experimenter would say, “Look at the elephant.” The catch was, the participant had two elephants to choose from. Normal people looked to the elephant that had been referred to just previously. But people with amnesia looked equally at the two elephants, showing no benefit from the earlier portion of the conversation.

This suggests that declarative memory is required for keeping track of what’s going on in a conversation, even if it was something that was mentioned less than a minute ago. “Memory and language are related more than people thought before,” Rubin says. And it’s a reminder that people with amnesia don’t just have trouble with memory; their memory problems extend to other parts of their lives, like the ability to connect with other people through conversation.

For more information about this study, please contact: Rachael Rubin at rrubin2@illinois.edu.

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "How do I remember that I know you know that I know?" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Divya Menon at 202-293-9300 or dmenon@psychologicalscience.org.

Divya Menon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>