Temporal schemas influence behaviors in development and adulthood

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2020-05-06

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Pudhiyidath, Athula

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I posit that schemas are a way of structuring incoming information, which can aid and bias subsequent decision-making. Specifically, I propose the temporal community structure can serve as an experimental model of a temporal schema, i.e. a schema that tracks the relationships and commonalities of incoming information temporally. Across a set of four experiments, I examine how temporal schemas come to emerge, both behaviorally and neurally, and how they come to influence subsequent reasoning behaviors in both development and adulthood. Experiment 1 uses a set of three behavioral sub-experiments to test how temporal community structure yields a temporal schema, and tests its limitations in influencing decision-making. Experiment 2 is a behavioral experiment that tests whether children are able to acquire temporal schemas, and the degree to which their schemas bias how they make decisions. Experiment 3 is a neuroimaging experiment that tests how the neural representations of temporal schema in the hippocampus relate to subsequent behavioral biases. Finally, Experiment 4 is a behavioral experiment that tests how context warps perception and organization of temporally mediated information in children and adults.

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