New paper: Stimulus repetition and memory interference.

zach_paper_ponyNew paper by Zach Reagh in Learning and Memory. Here he is with the paper pony!

Reagh, Z.M. & Yassa, M.A. (2014). Repetition strengthens target recognition but impairs similar lure discrimination: evidence for trace competition. Learning & Memory DOI doi/10.1101/lm.034546.114.


Most theories of memory assume that representations are strengthened with repetition. We recently proposed Competitive Trace Theory, building on the hippocampus’ powerful capacity to orthogonalize inputs into distinct outputs. We hypothesized that repetition elicits a similar but nonidentical memory trace, and that contextual details of traces may compete for representation over time. We designed a task in which objects were incidentally encoded either one or three times. Supporting our theory, repetition improved target recognition, but impaired rejection of similar lures. This suggests that, in contrast to past beliefs, repetition may reduce the fidelity of memory representations.