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Long-term spatial clustering in free recall

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We explored the influence of space on the organisation of items in long-term memory. In two experiments, we asked our participants to explore a virtual environment and memorise discrete items presented at specific locations. Memory for those items was later on tested in immediate (T1) and 24 hours delayed (T2) free recall tests, in which subjects were asked to recall as many items as possible in any order. In experiment 2, we further examined the contribution of active and passive navigation in recollection dynamics. Results across experiments revealed a significant tendency for participants to consecutively recall items that were encountered in proximate locations during learning. Moreover, the degree of spatial organisation and the total number of items recalled were positively correlated in the immediate and the delayed tests. Results from experiment 2 indicated that the spatial clustering of items was independent of navigation types. Our results highlight the long-term stability of spatial clustering effects and their correlation with recall performance, complementing previous results collected in immediate or briefly delayed tests.
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Keywords: Free recall; spatial clustering; spatial memory; spatial navigation; virtual reality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems, Center of Autonomous Systems and Neurorobotics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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