Encoding or Post Encoding Mechanisms Invoke Enhanced Memory for Event Boundaries?

AbstractWe perceive our environment by breaking it down into segments known as events. Event segmentation influences memory by enhancing the retention of information at boundaries as compared to information that is contained within the boundaries of an event (the event boundary advantage). This effect has been attributed to changes in attention during perception of events. Prior studies have demonstrated greater attention while perceiving event boundaries but have failed to demonstrate attention as the underlying mechanism for the event-boundary advantage. Two behavioral experiments were conducted to investigate, a) whether the event boundary advantage is observed even for events that are perceived while performing a concurrent task? and b) Is there a decrease in the boundary advantage when the concurrent task complexity is increased? In both experiments, participants watched videos related to performance of daily tasks, while simultaneously performing a probe detection task; either a simple dot detection (Experiment 1) or a go/ no-go task (Experiment 2). The probe was presented either at an event boundary or at pre-defined non-boundary time point and the memory for both temporal locations was measured after the completion of the detection task. A mixed effects logistic regression revealed an interactive effect for both detection accuracy and the boundary advantage; probe detection at event boundaries remained unaffected throughout an event irrespective of the level of the task complexity while, contrary to prediction, a boundary advantage in memory was also observed. But detection and memory accuracy for non-boundaries decreased successively for both low and high secondary task complexity suggesting greater interference for processing non-boundary information. These results indicate that greater attention may not be the only predictor of better memory for event boundaries as postulated by Event Segmentation theory.

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