An analysis of immediate serial recall performance in a macaque
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- Botvinick, M.M., Wang, J., Cowan, E. et al. Anim Cogn (2009) 12: 671. doi:10.1007/s10071-009-0226-z
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There has been considerable research into the ability of nonhuman primates to process sequential information, a topic that is of interest in part because of the extensive involvement of sequence processing in human language use. Surprisingly, no previous study has unambiguously tested the ability of nonhuman primates to encode and immediately reproduce a novel temporal sequence of perceptual events, the ability tapped in the immediate serial recall (ISR) task extensively studied in humans. We report here the performance of a rhesus macaque on a spatial ISR task, closely resembling tasks widely used in human memory research. Detailed analysis of the monkey’s recall performance indicates a number of important parallels with human ISR, consistent with the idea that a single mechanism for short-term serial order memory may be shared across species.