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Novelty as a modulator of memory retrieval and the divergent creative process

Alejo Ramiro Barbuzza

  • CABA,
  • Argentina
  • Alejo Ramiro Barbuzza ¹
  • , Daniela Ramirez Butavand ²
  • , Pedro Beckenstein ²
  • , Fabricio Ballarini ¹
  • 1 Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencias, Facultad de Medicina, UBA-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2 Laboratorio de Memoria y Cognición Molecular, Instituto de Neurociencias Cognitivas y Traslacionales, Universidad Favaloro-INECO-CONICET
  • 3 Departamentos de Ciencias de la Vida, ITBA

Education is the most transformative tool of the human mind; and, in this sense, learning and memory are two fundamental pillars on which knowledge is based. Previous studies have shown that the presentation of a novelty could improve the memory consolidation process in both rodents and humans. Furthermore, the novelty positively modulates, within a time window, the retrieval of different memories in rodents. Therefore, the objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of novelty on memory retrieval in humans, especially in high-school students. Our results showed that a novel neuroscience class improved the retrieval of declarative memories in high-school students when this novelty occured immediately before the evocation, but not when the separation between them was one hour.
On the other hand, recent studies in neuroimaging have shown that creativity and episodic memory share neural networks, so we studied the effect of novelty on creativity. We found that novelty positively modulates the divergent thinking process, a component of creativity, when the association between the two is immediate. Likewise, a competition effect was found between the evocation of graphic memories and creative processes, which would not be bilateral. Finally, we developed a new paradigm to evaluate episodic memory.