Testing a positional model of the Hebb effect

N. Cumming, M.P.A. Page, D. Norris

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    In two experiments, we investigate the hypothesis that a strengthening of position –item associations underlies the improvement seen in performance on an immediate serial recall task, when a given in list is surreptitiously repeated every third trial. Having established a strong effect of repetition, performance was tested on transfer lists in which half the items held the same position as in the repeated list (S-items), the remainder moved (D-items). In Experiment 1, S-items showed a small advantage over control and D-items, in order errors. A second experiment tested whether a design element in Experiment 1 underlay this advantage. When the experimental design was better controlled, no improvement was shown for either S- or D-items over controls. These data were shown to be inconsistent with the results of computer simulations of a positional model. An alternative model is outlined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-63
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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