The Association between Predictive Coding and Cardiac Cycles Using Memory Recall

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences
Presenter: Angela Xie
Additional Authors: Aline Ho, Leslie Hassanein

Previous research has shown that changes in bodily signals lead to predictive responses in the brain, known as predictive coding (Barrett & Simmons, 2015). Evidence can be found through in two cycles of heartbeat: systole and diastole. Systole is the cycle where baroreceptors signal the contraction of the heart to the brain. Diastole, the phase in which the heart relaxes and refills with blood, follows systole. In this study, we investigate the relationship between predictions based on heart cycles and accuracy of memory recall. The experiment used an ECG procedure that consisted of two parts: Encoding and Recognition. During Encoding, participants were presented with images of faces and scenes, each category either presented in systole or diastole, randomly assigned to participants. Images were presented four times, and participants were asked to categorize the face as either male or female or the scene as indoor or outdoor. During Recognition, participants were presented with images that they had seen from Encoding and new face and scene images, either congruent or incongruent with the original heart cycle. Participants were asked to recall if they had seen an image previously. We hypothesize that an image presented in one heart cycle will be recalled with higher accuracy when presented again in the same heart cycle. This result can be applied to understanding how certain memories are encoded with bodily signals; for example, bodily signals related to elicited relevant stimuli may trigger memories in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).