Technical Program

Paper Detail

Paper: PS-2B.18
Session: Poster Session 2B
Location: Symphony/Overture
Session Time: Friday, September 7, 19:30 - 21:30
Presentation Time:Friday, September 7, 19:30 - 21:30
Presentation: Poster
Paper Title: Semantic Compression of Episodic Memories
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
Authors: David G. Nagy, Balázs Török, Gergő Orbán, MTA Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Hungary
Abstract: Storing knowledge of an agent's environment in the form of a probabilistic generative model has been established as a crucial ingredient in a multitude of cognitive tasks. Perception has been formalised as probabilistic inference over the state of latent variables, whereas in decision making the model of the environment is used to predict likely consequences of actions. Such generative models have earlier been proposed to underlie semantic memory but it remained unclear if this model also underlies the efficient storage of experiences in episodic memory. We formalise the compression of episodes in the normative framework of information theory and argue that semantic memory provides the distortion function for compression of experiences. Recent advances and insights from machine learning allow us to approximate semantic compression in naturalistic domains and contrast the resulting deviations in compressed episodes with memory errors observed in the experimental literature on human memory. Semantic compression establishes a framework to provide a normative account for a spectrum of memory distortions in humans.