Do Event Boundaries Influence Processing of Concurrently Presented Information?

Omar Carrasco, University of Texas at El Paso


During our everyday experiences, working memory representations of the current situation are updated at event boundaries, where meaningful perceptual or conceptual changes occur. These event boundaries lead to increases in perceptual processing, attention, activation of semantics and event schemas to generate a more accurate representation of what is currently happening. Previous literature has demonstrated that information embedded within an elapsing experience that is presented at event boundaries receives a processing advantage that leads to better memory for that information compared to information presented at non-boundary locations. However, it is not clear whether information presented concurrently but outside of the elapsing event structure also benefits from being presented at event boundaries. We presented participants with a list of words while watching movies of actors engaged in everyday activities. Words were either conceptually related or unrelated to the event structure and were presented either at previously identified event boundaries or non-boundary points in the movies. At the end of each movie, participants had to recall the list of words they learned. Memory performance was better for related than unrelated words, but there was no difference in memory for words presented at boundaries versus non-boundaries. These results suggest that the event model is limited in the amount of information incorporated from the overall experience during working memory updating. Additionally, perceiving a transpiring experience may provide semantic support for words conceptually related to the experience. However, information not contained within the event structure does not appear to receive a specific encoding boost from the updating that occurs at event boundaries.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Carrasco, Omar, "Do Event Boundaries Influence Processing of Concurrently Presented Information?" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10689053.