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Reuben Rideaux, Mark Edwards; The cost of parallel consolidation into visual working memory. Journal of Vision 2016;16(6):1. doi: 10.1167/16.6.1.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
A growing body of evidence indicates that information can be consolidated into visual working memory in parallel. Initially, it was suggested that color information could be consolidated in parallel while orientation was strictly limited to serial consolidation (Liu & Becker, 2013). However, we recently found evidence suggesting that both orientation and motion direction items can be consolidated in parallel, with different levels of accuracy (Rideaux, Apthorp, & Edwards, 2015). Here we examine whether there is a cost associated with parallel consolidation of orientation and direction information by comparing performance, in terms of precision and guess rate, on a target recall task where items are presented either sequentially or simultaneously. The results compellingly indicate that motion direction can be consolidated in parallel, but the evidence for orientation is less conclusive. Further, we find that there is a twofold cost associated with parallel consolidation of direction: Both the probability of failing to consolidate one (or both) item/s increases and the precision at which representations are encoded is reduced. Additionally, we find evidence indicating that the increased consolidation failure may be due to interference between items presented simultaneously, and is moderated by item similarity. These findings suggest that a biased competition model may explain differences in parallel consolidation between features.
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