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Andrew Yonelinas, Weiwei Zhang, Kimron Shapiro; Enhanced Familiarity with Sequential Presentations in Visual Working Memory. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):359. doi: 10.1167/12.9.359.
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Splitting the to-be-remembered items into two sequential arrays significantly increases visual working memory (VWM) relative to the simultaneous presentation of the same items (Ihssen, et al., 2010). However, the reason for this increase is unknown.
The present study examined receiver operating characteristics (ROCs) to test whether the improvement in VWM is due to increased recollection or familiarity-based responses. Four colors and four shapes were presented either simultaneously (simultaneous condition), or split into two temporally separated 4-object arrays (sequential condition). Observers reported whether one of the items in the test array had the old or new color or shape, on a 6-point confidence scale, relative to the corresponding memory arrays. A larger VWM capacity was obtained for the sequential condition (K = 3.8) relative to the simultaneous condition (K = 3.0), replicating previous findings. ROCs were constructed for each condition based on the confidence data. Recollection and familiarity were then estimated from ROCs using a Maximum Likelihood Estimation procedure. The increase in the overall capacity seen in the sequential condition was due to an increase in familiarity, rather than an increase in recollection. The enhanced familiarity in the sequential condition may result from improved configural encoding that arises when two separable chunks or Gestalts are presented. These results are further discussed within the framework of biased competition.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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