Response and sample bridging in a primate short-term memory task

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2019 Dec;166:107106. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2019.107106. Epub 2019 Nov 6.


Freely-moving rodents can solve short-term memory (STM) tasks using "response bridging" strategies, relying on motor patterns instead of mnemonic functions. This limits the interpretational power of results yielded by some STM tasks in rodents. To determine whether head-fixed monkeys can employ parallel non-mnemonic strategies, we measured eye position and velocity of two head-fixed monkeys performing a delayed response reaching and grasping task. We found that eye position during the delay period was correlated with reach direction. Moreover, reach direction as well as grasp object could be predicted from eye kinematics during the delay. Both eye velocity and eye position contributed to the prediction of reach direction. These results show that motor signals carry sufficient information to allow monkeys to solve STM tasks without using any mnemonic functions. Thus, the potential of animals to solve STM tasks using motor patterns is more diverse than previously recognized.

Keywords: Animal cognition; Delayed response; Mediating strategies; Working memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology