Learned interval time facilitates associate memory retrieval

Learn Mem. 2017 Mar 15;24(4):158-161. doi: 10.1101/lm.044404.116. Print 2017 Apr.


The extent to which time is represented in memory remains underinvestigated. We designed a time paired associate task (TPAT) in which participants implicitly learned cue-time-target associations between cue-target pairs and specific cue-target intervals. During subsequent memory testing, participants showed increased accuracy of identifying matching cue-target pairs if the time interval during testing matched the implicitly learned interval. A control experiment showed that participants had no explicit knowledge about the cue-time associations. We suggest that "elapsed time" can act as a temporal mnemonic associate that can facilitate retrieval of events associated in memory.

MeSH terms

  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult