Organization of visual short-term memory

Y Jiang, I R Olson, M M Chun
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition 2000, 26 (3): 683-702
The authors examined the organization of visual short-term memory (VSTM). Using a change-detection task, they reported that VSTM stores relational information between individual items. This relational processing is mediated by the organization of items into spatial configurations. The spatial configuration of visual objects is important for VSTM of spatial locations, colors, and shapes. When color VSTM is compared with location VSTM, spatial configuration plays an integral role because configuration is important for color VSTM, whereas color is not important for location VSTM. The authors also examined the role of attention and found that the formation of configuration is modulated by both top-down and bottom-up attentional factors. In summary, the authors proposed that VSTM stores the relational information of individual visual items on the basis of global spatial configuration.

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