Reward is thought to enhance episodic memory formation via dopaminergic consolidation. Bunzeck, Dayan, Dolan, and Duzel [(2010). A common mechanism for adaptive scaling of reward and novelty. Human Brain Mapping, 31, 1380–1394] provided functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioural evidence that reward and episodic memory systems are sensitive to the contextual value of a reward—whether it is relatively higher or lower—as opposed to absolute value or prediction error. We carried out a direct replication of their behavioural study and did not replicate their finding that memory performance associated with reward follows this pattern of adaptive scaling. An effect of reward outcome was in the opposite direction to that in the original study, with lower reward outcomes leading to better memory than higher outcomes. There was a marginal effect of reward context, suggesting that expected value affected memory performance. We discuss the robustness of the reward memory relationship to variations in reward context, and whether other reward-related factors have a more reliable influence on episodic memory.
Mason, A. M., Ludwig, C., & Farrell, S. A. (2017). Adaptive scaling of reward in episodic memory: a replication study. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(11), 2306-2318. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1233439