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Author Notes:

Victoria L. Templer, Email: vtempler@providence.edu

V.L.T. and E.K.B. conceived of and designed experiments, collected, analyzed, and interpreted data. V.L.T. and R.R.H. drafted manuscript.

All authors contributed to revisions.

We thank Tara Dove-Van Wormer for assistance testing animals.

The authors declare no competing interests.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) Network for Biomedical Research Excellence from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant numbers P20GM103430 and P20GM203430, a Medical Research Grant from the Rhode Island Foundation (2014–4397), National Science Foundation Awards (grants BCS-1632477, IOS-1146316, BCS-0745573) and the National Institutes of Health (grant T32HD071845 and by ORIP/OD P51OD011132).

Rhesus monkeys metacognitively monitor memories of the order of events


Journal Title:

Scientific Reports


Volume 8, Number 11541


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Human working memory is a capacity- and duration-limited system in which retention and manipulation of information is subject to metacognitive monitoring and control. At least some nonhuman animals appear to also monitor and control the contents of working memory, but only relatively simple cases where animals monitor or control the presence or absence of single memories have been studied. Here we combine a comparatively complex order memory task with methodology that assesses the capacity to introspect about memory. Monkeys observed sequential presentations of five images, and at test, reported which of two images from the list had appeared first during study. Concurrently, they chose to complete or avoid these tests on a trial-by-trial basis. Monkeys “knew when they knew” the correct response. They were less accurate discriminating images that had appeared close in time to one another during study and were more likely to avoid these difficult tests than they were to avoid easier tests. These results indicate that monkeys can metacognitively monitor relatively complex properties of the contents of working memory, including the quality of representations of temporal relations among images.

Copyright information:

© The Author(s) 2018

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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