On the second day, participants were ‘reminded’ of the sequence by typing it out a few times, and were then trained to perform a different pattern. According to reconsolidation theory, learning this second pattern should have disrupted the memory of the first one, acting as ‘interference’ to block reconsolidation of the first sequence.

This is what Walker et al. found: they showed that on the third, ‘test’ day, the participants’ ability to perform the first sequence was impaired. However, Hardwicke et al. couldn’t confirm this. They ran the paradigm seven times, with various modifications, but in no case did they observe the predicted effect.

The authors conclude that “the considerable theoretical weight attributed to the original study [Walker et al.] is unwarranted” i.e. that theories of memory based on the experimental results of Walker et al., may need a rethink.

z: Neuroskeptic (podkr. moje)