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J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1975 Oct;1(4):326-34.

An analysis of short-term visual memory in the monkey.


Visual memory in monkeys was examined under four different conditions, each with a separate group. In all conditions, the delay between sample and choice was 10 sec, and the delay between trials was 30 sec. The procedural differences were matching or nonmatching with the same two objects presented repeatedly and matching or nonmatching with trial-unique objects. With the customary repetitive stimuli, whether in matching or nonmatching, most monkeys either required prolonged training to solve the problem (over 40 sessions) or failed to solve it, corroborating the learning difficulties reported earlier by others. With trial-unique stimuli, by contrast, most monkeys learned quickly (matching, under 20 sessions; nonmatching, under 5 sessions). Furthermore, in nonmatching with trial-unique stimuli, scores averaged 80% correct in the first session, even though the monkeys were experimentally naive. The results indicate that recognition of a stimulus as familiar or novel is highly developed in monkeys, and that their difficulty with the customary nonspatial visual memory tasks stems from a retardation in noticing and using the mnemonic cue of recovery of presentation. Evidence is presented that this difficulty can be overcome, however, by a simple training procedure that exploits their proficiency at distinguishing familiar from novel stimuli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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