Lucia Melloni


From continuous stream to segmented units: How units are created in perception and their role on memory

Our experience unravels in a continuous and forward manner yet perception appears punctuated by objects and events. Our episodic memories are also snapshots of that continuous experience. The mechanism by which continuous input is segmented and the role of those for episodic memories are beginning to be understood. We have used tasks involving artificial sequences, visual narratives, and continuous visual presentation of images in conjunction with magnetoencephalography and electrocorticography to understand the mechanism supporting segmentation and encoding of sequences. We found evidence of multiple timescales of processing in different frequencies and for hierarchical representation of sequences from simpler features such as coding of transitional probability, to more complex coding of ordinal position and even chunks. Extracting those events have important consequences for memory for temporal order such that order is better preserved and remembered within an event than across an event. I will discuss a model linking event segmentation to episodic memory.


Lucia Melloni is a research group leader at the Max Planck for Empirical Aesthetics and an assistant professor at NYU school of medicine. In her research she uses a combination of neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and behavior to dissect the neural circuits that give rise to perception and cognition in humans. Her research primarily focuses on two questions: 1) consciousness – what make us to have an experience – and 2) language – how do we communicate infinite number of ideas with a limited set of string. Her approach aims at revealing the elementary computations and neural mechanisms of those processes, and to develop a novel framework to study the physiology of uniquely human cognitive processes.