Association and the subjective experience of time comprise two fundamental aspects to the understanding of episodic memory. The ability to recognize previously paired items from memory and reject novel pairings, termed associative recognition, is integral to everyday life; however, the mechanisms that underlie this ability remain largely debated. Recent studies of event segmentation, however, which propose that we tend to “chunk” segments of our temporal experience into distinct events in memory, may hold part of the answer. Though the field of cognitive psychology is rife with literature regarding these phenomena separately, previous research has not addressed the potential effect of this tendency to segment events in memory on recognition for associations. The present study signifies a first step toward understanding and characterizing this influence. Participants read a number of stories segmented into discrete events, followed by a test phase, during which they were presented with sentences that were intact, recombined within, or recombined between events. Though the results varied by story, participants false alarmed significantly more to test sentences recombined within versus recombined between events in the story most likely to accurately represent people’s memory for associations within and between events. This suggests that rearranged associations within these event segments are more easily accepted as correct than are those rearranged across event boundaries.
Marks, Linnéa R. and Quamme, Joel R., "Influence of Event Segmentation on Associative Recognition: Memory for Sentences Rearranged within and across Narrative Event Boundaries" (2014). Honors Projects. 294.