Primacy and Recency Effects for Taste

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Historically, much of what we know about human memory has been discovered in experiments using visual and verbal stimuli. In two experiments, participants demonstrated reliably high recognition for nonverbal liquids. In Experiment 1, participants showed high accuracy for recognizing tastes (bitter, salty, sour, sweet) over a 30-s delay in a recognition task, even when the probe stimulus was only a different concentration within the same taste. In Experiment 2, participants tasted three liquids and showed both primacy and recency effects in a serial-position recognition task with varying delay lengths (15, 30, 45, 60 s). Recognition for liquids at the end of a list was most evident with shorter delay lengths (i.e., recency). Recognition for liquids at the start of the list was most evident with longer delay lengths (i.e., primacy). These data show that not only is gustatory information stored and maintained in working memory, but that memory for these liquids follow a recency-to-primacy shift in recognition memory.

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