Memory search: relating cognitive theory and neural data
The fundamental problem of episodic memory concerns linking items with their temporal context (during study) and retrieving the context associated with items (during recall). The reinstatement of mental context is distinguished from the idea that remembering solely involves a reactivation of content information that is specific to that event. I will first present behavioral evidence for the idea associations in episodic memory arise from this contextual encoding/retrieval process, and that forgetting largely reflects the loss of effective contextual cues at retrieval. I will briefly describe how the Context Maintenance and Retrieval model (Polyn et al., 2009)---a computational model of episodic memory---can account for these data. I will then show how direct brain recordings taken as neurosurgical patients perform a free recall task can be used to test these ideas.