Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-08-BLAN-0045
The aim of our project is to understand forgetting in adults and children, more especially short-term forgetting. Memory is the central cognitive characteristic of human cognition. All of our complex cognitive activities, such as learning, reasoning, and planning, require both the integration and the maintenance of new information and the retrieval of previously acquired knowledge. Within cognitive architecture, one specific structure, working memory, interfaces between these two types of information. Working memory (WM), the system that holds, organizes, and manipulates the contents of our current thoughts, can be seen as the central piece of deliberate cognition. Historically, the concept of WM emerges from the fusion of the attentional system to a short-term memory conceived as a simple store of information. Its limited capacity is a major determinant of our success in complex tasks such as text comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving, and measures of WM capacity have therefore been identified as major determinants of cognitive development in childhood and in old age as well as of individual differences in intellectual abilities. Although the amount of research focused on working memory has increased during the last 30 years, one of its most intriguing mechanisms is still unclear. Indeed, forgetting information stored at short term, that is when a small amount of time separates the acquisition of information and its retrieval for recall, has huge consequences for learning. This phenomenon, so incredibly frequent in our everyday life, is still poorly understood. Within the joint approaches of experimental cognitive psychology and computational science, our aim is to develop a model explaining the underlying mechanisms of forgetting and their development through life.