Date of Award

Winter 12-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



A novel theory has emerged that examines how people process and comprehend change. Two experiments examined these theoretical mechanisms used to detect and recollect changes in everyday activities. Participants viewed movies of an actor performing narrative activities across two fictitious days. During the second movie, participants also completed a prediction task in which they were asked to predict what they thought was going to happen next. In Experiment 1, some activities repeated identically across the two days, some were repeated but changed on a critical feature (e.g. waking up to an alarm from a clock or a phone), and some were only shown on the second day. In Experiment 2, some activities during the second day matched the participant prediction of the critical feature from the prediction task, some activities did not match the critical feature (e.g. predicting the alarm clock and being shown the phone), and some activities were only shown on the second day. After a delay, participants completed a cued recall test for the activities on the second day. Making a prediction that matched the critical feature shown during the first day was associated with encoding of the subsequent ending, both when it repeated and when it changed so that it mismatched the prediction. Contrary to hypothesis, experiencing prediction error during the viewing of the second day was not associated with improved memory. These results support the proposal successful retrieval of relevant previous instances benefits the subsequent encoding of situational changes.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Jeffrey Zacks

Committee Members

Ian Dobbins, Todd Braver


Permanent URL: