Many recent comparative studies have addressed "episodic" memory in nonhuman animals, suggesting that birds, rodents, great apes, and others can remember their own behavior after at least a half-day delay. By contrast, despite numerous studies regarding long-term memory, few comparable studies have been conducted on short-term retention for own behavior. In the current study, we addressed the following question: Do chimpanzees remember what they have just done? Four chimpanzees performed matching-to-sample and visual search tasks on a routine basis and were occasionally (every four sessions) given a "recognition" test immediately after their response during visual search trials. Even though these test trials were given very rarely, all four chimpanzees chose the stimulus they selected in the visual search trials immediately before the test trial significantly more frequently than they chose the stimulus they selected in another distractor trial. Subsequent experiments ruled out the possibility that preferences for the specific stimuli accounted for the recognition test results. Thus, chimpanzees remembered their own behavior even within a short-term interval. This type of memory may involve the transfer of episodic information from working memory to long-term episodic-like memory (i.e., an episodic buffer).
Tomonaga, M., & Kaneko, T. (2014). What did you choose just now? Chimpanzees’ short-term retention of memories of their own behavior. PeerJ, 2, e637. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.637