Acquisition of Novel Concept Spaces

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The hippocampus is known to play a key role in spatial navigation as well as declarative memory. More recently, hippocampal circuitry has been shown to map more abstract spaces such as, social space (Tavares et al., 2015) or the mapping of frequency tones (Aronov et al. 2017). Here we test whether novel concepts are also acquired with a map-like representation in the hippocampus. We create a novel concept map comprising symbols spanning two feature dimensions. Participants learn to categorize symbols into A & B concepts, as well as associate objects with some of these symbols. By means of showing them the objects in the scanner both before and after the learning phase, we are able to examine changes in neural representations as a function of learning. Participants are able to learn the novel concept along with the concept space. fMRI data indicate a repetition suppression effect in the right body of the hippocampus for objects that are close together compared to those that are further apart within the concept space.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen