The Echoes of the Mind (64) Processing Paradox Bias

Processing Paradox Bias

Employing a process termed pattern separation, new experiences are encoded as distinct from already stored episodes. In contrast, retrieving an episodic memory relies upon pattern completion to fill in gaps in detail, increasing overlap with previous memories by reactivating related memory traces.

Such mutually exclusive processing cannot operate simultaneously. Hence, the encoding of episodic memory and its recall can present a processing paradox that is resolved to usefulness at the moment (context utility) without regard for accuracy.

The episodic memory system uses environmental cues to establish processing biases that favor either pattern separation during encoding or pattern completion during retrieval. ~ American psychologist Katherine Duncan et al

This processing bias lingers in time, influencing subsequent mnemonic processing. This is one way that experiences affect future behavior and make memory fallible but useful.