Serial-Probe Recognition for Gustatory Objects
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Historically, what we know about human memory was discovered in experiments that used visual or verbal information. As a result, prevailing models of working memory (e.g., Baddeley and Hitch, 1974) rely heavily on visual and auditory components. The current set of studies investigated the possibility of a separate taste-related working memory that functions independently of vision and hearing. Working memory for tastes was tested using a delayed match-to-sample task in Experiment 1. Results show that memories for tastants (i.e., flavorless liquids) can be briefly stored and maintained over a delay, a hallmark of working memory. This representation of a taste-related memory is not dependent on language, as participants successfully completed the task with articulatory suppression present. Two subsequent experiments used a serial-probe recognition task to explore serial-position effects with taste. With lists of three tastants, participants were able to recognize whether a fourth tastant, presented after a delay, was originally present in the previous list. The length of the delay after the taste list predicted accuracy for tastant recognition, with a longer delay creating a primacy effect, and a shorter delay creating a recency effect.