SURF

Soobin Hong

The Role of Episodic Memory in Learning

Studying learning is crucial to understanding the human mind. Currently, active research is being done on the relationship between cognitive processes and memory systems. While most studies focus on the systems individually, much recent research shows that human learning can be better explained by considering multiple systems simultaneously. We focus on the RLWM framework, which suggests that reinforcement learning (RL) and working memory (WM) both contribute significantly to trial-and-error learning. It takes into account the limited capacity of memory, more efficiently accounting for dependence of learning on the number of items learned in parallel than only considering RL to model behavior. Recent literature has shown that episodic memory (EM) contributes to learning alongside RL and WM. However, no study has examined the role of all three systems (RL, WM, EM) jointly so far. This project, therefore, aims to find whether EM affects RLWM learning and how it contributes to the learning mechanism. Specifically, we are curious about the behavioral effects of EM in a new experiment expanded from the RLWM framework and computationally modeling the significant behavioral effects found.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much for supporting me with my research! This is my first proper research experience where I am leading the project, engaging actively in all parts and steps, so this means a lot to me. Being selected as a SURF fellow also motivates me to work harder towards my research, career, and academic goals. I'm very grateful and excited to have a summer fully focused and immersed in research.
  • Major: Applied Math / Cognitive Science
  • Sponsor: Wishek Fund
  • Mentor: Anne Collins