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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Shape and color conjunction stimuli are represented as bound objects in visual working memory

Roy Luria, Edward K Vogel
Neuropsychologia 2011, 49 (6): 1632-9
21145333
The integrated object view of visual working memory (WM) argues that objects (rather than features) are the building block of visual WM, so that adding an extra feature to an object does not result in any extra cost to WM capacity. Alternative views have shown that complex objects consume additional WM storage capacity so that it may not be represented as bound objects. Additionally, it was argued that two features from the same dimension (i.e., color-color) do not form an integrated object in visual WM. This led some to argue for a "weak" object view of visual WM. We used the contralateral delay activity (the CDA) as an electrophysiological marker of WM capacity, to test those alternative hypotheses to the integrated object account. In two experiments we presented complex stimuli and color-color conjunction stimuli, and compared performance in displays that had one object but varying degrees of feature complexity. The results supported the integrated object account by showing that the CDA amplitude corresponded to the number of objects regardless of the number of features within each object, even for complex objects or color-color conjunction stimuli.

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