Memory reconsolidation theory states that upon reactivation, our memories become labile and susceptible to modification. Recent research indicates prediction error is a critical component of reactivation. Here I examined whether varying levels of prediction error, quantified as level of surprise (Study 1), differentially update episodic memories with new information. 74 participants underwent a three-day reconsolidation paradigm (Study 2). Day 1: participants viewed 18 videos. Day 2: participants randomized to the experimental group were reminded of the videos using three reminder cues that elicit different amounts of prediction error followed by viewing interference videos overlapping in content. Participants randomized to the control group viewed interference videos first, followed by reminder cues. Day 3: memory for Day 1 videos was tested. While there was a main effect of reminder cue on number of intrusions, indicating a larger prediction error led to more intrusions from interference videos during free recall, interpretation was complicated by the lack of a general reconsolidation effect between experimental and control groups. Prediction error also did not affect errors, or false memories. These findings provide important evidence that prediction error and spatial context are particularly important in reactivating memories for modification, specifically for memory updating and not false memories.

Degree Date

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name





Professor Holly Bowen

Second Advisor

Professor Ernest Jouriles

Third Advisor

Professor David Rosenfield

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Tuesday, December 08, 2026