Explicit Sequence Memory in Recall of Temporally-structured Episodes

Yonatan Stern, Ron Katz, Talya Sadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The order in which events unfold over time is an important scaffold aiding recollection. This study asks whether explicit order memory is enhanced for items sharing similar internally-driven temporal contexts. To tap internally-driven temporal context, we capitalized on the Temporal Contiguity Effect whereby recollection of one item promotes recall of adjacently-encoded items. We compared pairs encoded and retrieved contiguously (cont-enc-ret), whose items share internally-driven temporal contexts, to pairs retrieved, but not encoded, contiguously (cont-ret) and to pairs encoded, but not retrieved, contiguously (cont-enc). Cont-enc-ret pairs exhibited superior relative order over cont-ret pairs, supporting accounts emphasizing shared temporal context as opposed to temporal distinctiveness in driving sequence memory. No difference was found in absolute order between the pair types, in line with theories suggesting a dissociation between relative and absolute order. Additionally, cont-enc-ret and cont-enc pairs exhibited equivalent relative order, supporting the role of encoding as opposed to retrieval in the enhancement of relative order. Finally, cont-enc-ret pairs were perceived as closer than cont-enc pairs, supporting the claim that cont-enc-ret pairs constitute part of a temporally-coherent episode. Together, these results implicate internally-driven temporal context in the formation of temporally-structured episodes that enhances sequence memory of the items within the episode.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2666
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2020

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© 2020, The Author(s).

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