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Animal Learning & Behavior

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Human subjects, sitting at the center of a circle of eight lights, were tested on analogues of radial-maze item-recognition (Roberts & Smythe, 1979) and order-recognition (Kesner & Novak, 1982) tasks. Subjects in the item-recognition condition saw a list of seven lights, and then the nonlist (eighth) light was tested against the first, fourth, or seventh light from the list. The sub- jects were required to point toward the non list light. Subjects in the order-recognition condition saw a series of eight lights, followed by a test of the first and second, fourth and fifth, or seventh and eighth serial positions. They were asked to point toward the light with the earlier serial position. Subjects' item-recognition serial-position curves exhibited a recency effect with a O-sec retention interval (Experiments 1 and 2), and were U-shaped (Experiment 1) or flat (Experiment 2) with a 30-sec retention interval. Subjects' order-recognition serial-position curves were U-shaped at both retention intervals. Subjects' reported mnemonics were, generally, unrelated to their choice accuracy. The results suggest analogous memory processes in animals and humans.


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