Return to the Sternberg Memory Task page

last updated: 06-25-2019 by K.Borchert ( for Millisecond Software LLC

Script Copyright © 06-25-2019 Millisecond Software


This script implements the classic Sternberg Memory Task paradigm:

Sternberg, S. (1966). High speed scanning in human memory. Science, 153, 652-654.

Note: script tests set sizes of 2-7 (see list.setsize)

Participants are given a series of digits (2-7 digits long) before being prompted with a digit
that was either part of the series (IN) or not (OUT). Participants have to decide
whether the probe was IN or OUT by pressing 2 different keys on the keyboard.

The default data stored in the data files are:

(1) Raw data file: 'SternbergMemoryTask_raw*.iqdat' (a separate file for each participant)

build:							Inquisit build
computer.platform:				the platform the script was run on
date, time, subject, group:		date and time script was run with the current subject/groupnumber 
blockcode, blocknum:			the name and number of the current block
trialcode, trialnum: 			the name and number of the currently recorded trial
									(Note: not all trials that are run might record data; by default data is collected unless /recorddata = false is set for a particular trial/block) 
stimulusitem:					the presented stimuli in order of trial presentation
response:						the participant's response
correct:						the correctness of the response (1 = correct; 0 = incorrect)
latency: 						the response latency (in ms)
/ setsize:						the currently tested set size
/ first-
/ seventh:						contain digit1 to digit7 (depends on current set size)
/ target:						stores the currently presented target

(2) Summary data file: 'SternbergMemoryTask_summary*.iqdat' (a separate file for each participant)

script.startdate:				date script was run
script.starttime:				time script was started
script.subjectid:				subject id number
script.groupid:					group id number
script.elapsedtime:				time it took to run script (in ms)
computer.platform:				the platform the script was run on
/completed:						0 = script was not completed (prematurely aborted); 1 = script was completed (all conditions run)
/propcorrect7:					proportion correct responses by setsize


1 Testblock with 18 trials: 3 repetitions of setsizes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
* set sizes randomly selected
* 9 trials are randomly selected to be in-trials (the probe digit was part of the list) and 
9 trials are selected to be out trials (the probe digit was not part of the list)

see section Editable Stimuli

check below for (relatively) easily editable parameters, stimuli, instructions etc. 
Keep in mind that you can use this script as a template and therefore always "mess" with the entire code to further customize your experiment.

The parameters you can change are:

learninginterval:			interstimulusinterval (in ms), how fast a new letter is presented					
probepause:					pause (in ms) before probe is presented

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