Memory, on multiple timescales, is critical to our ability to discover the structure of our surroundings, and efficiently interact with the environment. We combined behavioural manipulation and modelling to investigate the dynamics of memory formation for rarely reoccurring acoustic patterns. In a series of experiments, participants detected the emergence of regularly repeating patterns within rapid tone-pip sequences. Unbeknownst to them, a few patterns reoccurred every ~3 minutes. All sequences consisted of the same 20 frequencies and were distinguishable only by the order of tone-pips. Despite this, reoccurring patterns were associated with a rapidly growing detection-time advantage over novel patterns. This effect was implicit, robust to interference, and persisted up to 7 weeks. The results implicate an interplay between short (a few seconds) and long-term (over many minutes) integration in memory formation and demonstrate the remarkable sensitivity of the human auditory system to sporadically reoccurring structure within the acoustic environment.
The datasets for this study can be found in the OSF repository: Dataset URL: https://osf.io/dtzs3/DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/DTZS3
Long-term implicit memory for sequential auditory patterns in humansOpen Science Framework, DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/DTZS3.
- Maria Chait
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The research ethics committee of University College London approved the experiment, and written informed consent was obtained from each participant.[Project ID Number]: 1490/009
- Jonas Obleser, University of Lübeck, Germany
© 2020, Bianco et al.
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