Proactive and reactive control over interference in memory

Principal Investigator: 
Funding entity: 
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
Period:
(2016 - 2019)

Recent proposals suggest that many of the difficulties that people have retrieving information from memory are due to the interference and distraction coming not only from external information but also from internal memories and thoughts (Bajo et al., 2006; Anderson & Levy, 2012). From this view, our brain needs mechanisms to control interference and reduce distraction so that appropriate information is retrieved and appropriate tasks are performed. Our proposal in this project is that this control system includes reactive mechanisms that are triggered to inhibit irrelevant interfering information, but that these processes interact with proactive control mechanisms that reduce interference by monitoring the context and maintaining task relevant information. This proposal is consistent with dual control model proposed in the context of action and attention control (Braver et al., 2009; Braver, 2012). Our aim is to show that these two processes interact in a dynamic way to control memory and that this interaction might vary depending on depending on personal features related to cognitive skills and experiences and on specific features of the tasks and context. In our studies we aim to identify profiles of executive control and the neural bases supporting them. Once these profiles are identified we aim to explore the relative efficiency of these forms of control in situation requiring retrospective and prospective memory. Finally we will investigate the possibility of modifying the efficiency of these forms of control by performing cognitive training studies and studies with neuro-modulation techniques.