Methodological Issues in Comparative Memory Research

Thomas R. Zentall

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Cognition

Second edition

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392661
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Methodological Issues in Comparative Memory Research

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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This chapter reviews studies of working memory in animals and identifies various methodological confounds that may have been responsible for misinterpreting the results of these studies. Most of these confounds can be described under the general rubric of “instructional failure” and often they result from the ambiguity that occurs, for example, when animals are trained with matching-to-sample without a retention interval between the offset of the sample and the onset of the comparison or choice stimuli. Once these confounds have been removed, assessment of animal working memory can be obtained and phenomena such as directed forgetting, rehearsal, base-rate neglect, episodic memory, meta memory, prospective coding, functional equivalence, memory for time, and single-code/default coding strategies can be more objectively studied.

Keywords: working memory; animal memory; active memory; instructional failure

Article.  15111 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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