Neuroimaging the serial position curve: A test of single-store versus dual-store models

Deborah Talmi*, Cheryl L. Grady, Yonatan Goshen-Gottstein, Morris Moscovitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroimaging data could help clarify the long-standing dispute between dual-store and single-store models of the serial position curve. Dual-store models assume that retrieval from late positions is dependent on short-term memory (STM), whereas retrieval from early positions is dependent on long-term memory (LTM). Single-store models, however, assume that retrieval processes for early and late items are similar, but that early items are. more difficult to discriminate than late items. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine this question. Ten young adults were scanned while they recognized items from early or late serial positions. Recognition of early items uniquely activated brain areas traditionally associated with LTM, namely, regions within the hippocampal memory system. None of these areas was activated for retrieval of late items. These results indicate differential use of LTM retrieval processes, and therefore support dual-store models over single-store models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-723
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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