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Auditory Memory in Monkeys: Costs and Benefits of Proactive Interference

Authors


  • University of Iowa Startup Funds; Contract grant sponsor: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD); contract grant number: DC0007156.

Correspondence to: Amy Poremba, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, E11 Seashore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242.

E-mail: amy-poremba@uiowa.edu

Abstract

Proactive interference (PI) has traditionally been understood as an adverse consequence of stimulus repetition during memory tasks. Herein, we present data that emphasize costs as well as benefits of PI for monkeys performing an auditory delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS) task. The animals made same/different judgments for a variety of simple and complex sounds separated by a 5-s memory delay. Each session used a stimulus set that included eight sounds; thus, each sound was repeated multiple times per session for match trials and for nonmatch trials as the sample (Cue 1) or test (Cue 2) stimulus. For nonmatch trials, performance was substantially diminished when the test stimulus had been previously presented on a recent trial. However, when the sample stimulus had been recently presented, performance was significantly improved. We also observed a marginal performance benefit when stimuli for match trials had been recently presented. The costs of PI for nonmatch test stimuli were greater than the combined benefits of PI for nonmatch sample stimuli and match trials, indicating that the net influence of PI is detrimental. For all three manifestations of PI, the effects are shown to extend beyond the immediately subsequent trial. Our data suggest that PI in auditory DMTS is best understood as an enduring influence that can be both detrimental and beneficial to memory-task performance. Am. J. Primatol. 75:425-434, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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