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Some short-term memories die suddenly, no fading
Date:4/29/2009

as similar to the first, but used shapes instead of colors.

Published in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science, the study found that subjects "either had the memory or didn't have the memory," Luck said, "and the probability of having it decreased between four and ten seconds. The memories did not gradually fade away."

The finding provides insight into the underlying mechanisms behind memory formation and retention. "The memories are not like flashlights that get progressively weaker as the battery runs low," Luck said. "They are more like a laptop computer that continues working at the same speed until it suddenly shuts down." This could be important in everyday life, he explained, because it would provide a mechanism to help us avoid the confusion that might arise if we tried to make decisions on the basis of weak, inaccurate memories.

Zhang and Luck are currently incorporating these findings into a study of short-term memory dysfunction in people with schizophrenia.


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Contact: Liese Greensfelder
lgreensfelder@ucdavis.edu
530-752-6101
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert  

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