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An associative analysis of recognition memory: Relative recency effects in an eye-tracking paradigm

Nitka, Aleksander W.; Bonardi, Charlotte; Robinson, Jasper


Aleksander W. Nitka


We report 2 eye-tracking experiments with human variants of 2 rodent recognition memory tasks, relative recency and object-in-place. In Experiment 1 participants were sequentially exposed to 2 images, A then B, presented on a computer display. When subsequently tested with both images, participants biased looking toward the first-presented image A: the relative recency effect. When contextual stimuli x and y, respectively, accompanied A and B in the exposure phase (xA,yB), the recency effect was greater when y was present at test, than when x was present. In Experiment 2 participants viewed 2 identical presentations of a 4-image array, ABCD, followed by a test with the same array, but in which one of thepairs of stimuli exchanged position (BACD orABDC). Participants looked preferentially at the displaced stimulus pair: the object-in-place effect. Three further conditions replicated Experiment 1’s findings: 2 pairs of images were presented one after the other (AB followed by CD); on a test with AB and CD,relative recency was again evident as preferential looking at AB. Moreover, this effect was greater when the positions of the first-presented A and B were exchanged between exposure and test (BACD), compared with when the positions of second-presented C and D were exchanged (ABDC). The results were interpreted within the theoretical framework of the Sometime Opponent Process model of associative learning (Wagner, 1981).


Nitka, A. W., Bonardi, C., & Robinson, J. (2020). An associative analysis of recognition memory: Relative recency effects in an eye-tracking paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 46(3), 314-326.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2020
Publication Date 2020-07
Deposit Date Apr 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 31, 2020
Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition
Print ISSN 2329-8456
Electronic ISSN 2329-8464
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 3
Pages 314-326
Keywords recognition; eye-tracking; recency; object-in-place; association
Public URL
Publisher URL


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