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episodic memory

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Retired Moderator
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Joined: 01 Oct 2009
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Location: Bangalore,India
WE 1: 4yrs in IT Industry
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episodic memory [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2013, 16:55
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 re-experiencing 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA:B

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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA:C

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. re-experience a past event in memory and act
accordingly
E. distinguish one learning event from a subsequent
learning event
[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA:C

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.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA:A


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Retired Moderator
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Re: episodic memory [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2013, 17:02
Can some one explain the answer for the second Question i have chosen A for it.
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Re: episodic memory [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2013, 17:26
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I think what may have led to your confusion is the fact that "what" "where" and "when" information are mentioned in the passage as components of episodic memory. That's a common distraction technique on the GMAT.

It's important to stay focused on the item stem, though. Here, the key language in the stem is "experiment depended on the fact that..."

If we want to know what fact the experiment depended on, we need to recall what the experiment is intended to show. It's a test for whether scrub jays exhibit episodic memory (or at least "episodic-like" memory). Now, the language might be a bit confusing here, since we are really concerned with Clayton's results, but we can still work this one out.

The experiment ultimately demonstrated that scrub jays do have something like episodic memory. But this demonstration turns on an important fact:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The scrub jays "remembered" that the crickets spoiled over time. This was demonstrated by the change in preference. Without that, the experiment would not have demonstrated the result.


So, the correct response is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C
.

All the best,
Will Langley
The Economist GMAT
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Economist GMAT Tutor
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Re: episodic memory   [#permalink] 15 Oct 2013, 17:26
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