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Keisuke Fukuda, Edward K. Vogel; Visual short term memory also gates long term memory without explicit retrieval. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):1275. doi: 10.1167/11.11.1275.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The classic “modal model” of memory argues that short term memory (STM) serves as the primary gateway for the formation of long term memory (LTM) representations (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). Over the years, though, this model has been disregarded by many because of various incompatible results. For example, one common interpretation of this model is that STM serves as an “incubator” that strengthens representations through repeated rehearsal so that they can be successfully transferred to LTM. However, several researchers have found that longer periods of retention and rehearsal in STM does not lead to better LTM representations (e.g. Craik & Watkins, 1973). In the past series of study, we took a different perspective to test this model. That is, rather than conceptualizing STM as an incubator, we instead tested whether it serves as the “gate” that filters what information from the environment will ultimately be encoded into LTM. Indeed, we successfully demonstrated that individuals with larger STM stored more LTM than those with smaller STM (Fukuda & Vogel, 2010) when their LTM was explicitly retrieved (e.g. recognition test). In the current research, we attempted to generalize this perspective even for LTM that is not explicitly retrievable. Here we found, (1) higher STM capacity individuals show better LTM performance than lower capacity individuals even when they do not indicate explicit retrieval (i.e. when they indicate that they are “randomly guessing”.), and (2) higher STM capacity individuals show faster and better implicit learning for spatial context (i.e. contextual cueing). These results further strengthen the generalizability of “gateway” perspective of STM for the formation of LTM.
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