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Anthony A. Wright, Ph.D.

Professor
Telephone: 713.500.5627
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Neurobiology and Anatomy > Department Faculty > Anthony Wright, Ph.D.
See also: Dr Wright's Lab Website (Wright Laboratory For Memory and Cognition)

Learning And Cognition

Anthony A. Wright, Ph.D. - ProfessorThe research programs in my laboratory are concerned with learning and memory processes of animals and humans.
Visual list memory is being tested in monkeys, pigeons, and humans in nearly identical tasks. Currently we are focused on exploring processes of (retrieval) inhibition that are responsible for memory changes that occur during retention (see figure). Strong recency effects in visual memory give way to strong primacy effects as the retention delay is lengthened. We are also looking at proactive interference effects of previously seen items on memory later in testing sessions. We know the locus of these proactive interference effects and have been able to measure the interference function showing its effects back in time.  These results relate to familiarity memory as opposed to episodic memory.

Learning And CognitionThe change-detection memory task is being used to compare capacities of visual working memory in pigeons, monkeys and humans. We’ve devised tasks to explore object and location memory which are the ‘what’ and ‘where’ components of episodic memory.  We are extending these memory studies to patient populations (TBI, PTSD), patients undergoing brain surgery, and fMRI scanning to complement the behavioral memory studies.

Research programs in abstract concept learning (e.g., identity, nonidentity and matching to sample) are being conducted with monkeys and pigeons, including showing for the first time that avians can learn abstract concepts, how these species learn abstract concepts, and what they learn when they do not learn the abstract concept.  Aspects of this work are being extended to patient studies including high-functioning autistic children to explore the their inability to learn tasks relationally. 

Selected Reading (visit the Wright lab website for PDF downloads)

Elmore, L. C., Ma, W.J., Magnotti, J.F., Leising, K. K., Passaro, A.D., Katz, J.S., Wright, A. A., (2011).  Visual Short-Term Memory Compared in Rhesus Monkeys and Humans. Current Biology, 21, 975–979.

Wright, A. A., Katz, J. S., Magnotti, J. F, Elmore, L. C, Babb, S., & Alwin, S. (2010, December). Testing pigeon memory in a change detection task.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 17 (2), 243-249. doi:10.3758/PBR.17.2.243

Wright, A. A. (2010 October). Functional relationships for determining similarities and differences in comparative cognition. Behavioural Processes, 85,  246–251.

Wright, A. A., & Katz, J. S. (2009).  A case for restricted-domain relational learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16, 907-913. PMID: 19815797

Elmore, L. C., Wright, A. A., Rivera, J. J., & Katz, J. S. (2009). Individual differences: Either relational learning or item-specific learning in a Same/Different Task. Learning & Behavior, 37, 204-213. PMID:19380897

Wright, A. A. & Katz, J. S. (2006). Mechanisms of same/different concept learning in primates and avians. Behavioural Processes, 72, 234-254.

Wright, A. A. (2007). An Experimental Analysis of memory processing. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 88. 405-433.

Wright, A. A. (2008).  Animal Intelligence. In L. Squire (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Oxford: Elsevier.

Wright, A. A., & Katz, J. S. (2007). The generalization hypothesis of abstract-concept learning: Learning strategies and related issues in Macaca mulatta, Cebus apella, and Columba livia. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121, 387-397.

Wright, A. A. (2007). An Experimental Analysis of memory processing. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 88. 405-433.

Wright, A. A. & Katz, J. S. (2006). Mechanisms of same/different concept learning in primates and avians. Behavioural Processes, 72, 234-254.

Wright, A. A. & Delius, J. D. (2005). Learning processes in matching and oddity: The oddity preference effect and sample reinforcement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 31, 425-432.

Papanicolaou, A. C., Simos, P.G., Castillo, E. M., Brier, J. I., Wright, A. A., & Katz, J. S. (2002). The hippocampus and memory of verbal and pictorial material. Learning and Memory, 9, 99-104.

Wright, AA, Santiago, HC, Sands, SF, Kendrick, DF, Cook, RG. (1985). Memory processing of serial lists by pigeons, monkeys, and people. Science, 229:287-289.

Wright, AA, Santiago, HC, Sands, SF, Kendrick, DF, Cook, RG. (1985). Memory processing of serial lists by pigeons, monkeys, and people. Science, 229:287-289.

 

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