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J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1983 Apr;9(2):202-21.

Sequential effects in pigeon delayed matching-to-sample performance.


Pigeons were tested in a three-alternative delayed matching-to-sample task in which second-choices were permitted following first-choice errors. Sequences of responses both within and between trials were examined in three experiments. The first experiment demonstrates that the sample information contained in first-choice errors is not sufficient to account for the observed pattern of second choices. This result implies that second-choices following first-choice errors are based on a second examination of the contents of working memory. Proactive interference was found in the second experiment in the form of a dependency, beyond that expected on the basis of trial independent response bias, of first-choices from one trial on the first-choice emitted on the previous trial. Samples from the previous trial were not found to exert a significant influence on later trials. The magnitude of the intertrial association (Experiment 3) did not depend on the duration of the intertrial interval. In contrast, longer intertrial intervals and longer sample durations did facilitate choice accuracy, by strengthening the association between current samples and choices. These results are incompatible with a trace-decay and competition model; they suggest strongly that multiple influences act simultaneously and independently to control delayed matching-to-sample responding. These multiple influences include memory for the choice occurring on the previous trial, memory for the sample, and general effects of trial spacing.

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