The term “episodic memory” was introduced by Tulving to refer to what he considered a uniquely human capacity—the ability to recollect specific past events, to travel back into the past in one’s own mind—as distinct from the capacity simply to use information acquired through past experiences. Subsequently, Clayton et al. developed criteria to test for episodic memory in animals. According to these criteria, episodic memories are not of individual bits of information; they involve multiple components of a single event “bound” together. Clayton sought to examine evidence of scrub jays’ accurate memory of “what,” “where,” and “when” information and their binding of this information. In the wild, these birds store food for retrieval later during periods of food scarcity. Clayton’s experiment required jays to remember the type, location, and freshness of stored food based on a unique learning event. Crickets were stored in one location and peanuts in another. Jays prefer crickets, but crickets degrade more quickly. Clayton’s birds switched their preference from crickets to peanuts once the food had been stored for a certain length of time, showing that they retain information about the what, the where, and the when. Such experiments cannot, however, reveal whether the birds were reexperiencing the past when retrieving the information. Clayton acknowledged this by using the term “episodic-like” memory.
The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. explain how the findings of a particular experiment have been interpreted and offer an alternative interpretation
B. describe a particular experiment and point out one of its limitations
C. present similarities between human memory and animal memory
D. point out a flaw in the argument that a certain capacity is uniquely human
E. account for the unexpected behavior of animal subjects in a particular experiment
According to the passage, Clayton’s experiment depended on the fact that scrub jays
A. recall “when” and “where” information more distinctly than “what” information
B. are not able to retain information about a single past event for an indefinitely long period of time
C. choose peanuts over crickets when the crickets have been stored for a long period of time
D. choose crickets over peanuts whenever both are available
E. prefer peanuts that have been stored for a short period to crickets that have been stored for a short period
The passage suggests that Clayton’s experiment demonstrated scrub jays’ ability to
A. choose different storage places for different kinds of food to minimize the rate at which a food will degrade
B. unlearn a behavior they use in the wild in order to adapt to laboratory conditions
C. bind together information about different aspects of a single past event
D. reexperience a past event in memory and act accordingly
E. distinguish one learning event from a subsequent learning event
It can be inferred from the passage that both Tulving and Clayton would agree with which of the following statements?
A. Animals’ abilities to use information about a specific past event are not conclusive evidence of episodic memory.
B. Animals do not share humans’ abilities to reexperience the past through memory.
C. The accuracy of animals’ memories is difficult to determine through direct experimentation.
D. Humans tend to recollect single bits of information more accurately than do animals.
E. The binding of different kinds of information is not a distinctive feature of episodic memory.