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Testing a positional model of the Hebb effect
CUMMING, N., PAGE, M.P.A. & NORRIS, D.N.
Memory 11(1), 43-63
Year of publication:
In two experiments, we investigated the hypothesis that a strengthening of position-item associations underlies the improvement seen in performance on an immediate serial recall task, for a list that 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) and the remainder moved (D-items). In Experiment 1, S-items showed a small advantage in order errors over control and D-items. A second experiment tested whether a design feature 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.