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Chaipat Chunharas, Sirawaj Itthipuripat, Thomas Sprague, Edward Ester, John Serences; Individual differences in depth discrimination predicts differences in visual working memory for stimuli rendered in 3D. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1438. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1438.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Most visual working memory (vWM) studies have used 2-dimensional displays even though we routinely encode information in 3D. The addition of depth information might enhance vWM performance by reducing competition between nearby stimuli, or it might impair vWM performance because it extends the spatial extent of attention across the visual field. To evaluate these possibilities, we ran two tasks that induced depth perception using binocular disparity. First, subjects performed a depth-discrimination task in which they had to report whether the target was presented in front of or behind fixation. Then, they performed a delayed-match-to-sample vWM paradigm with set-sizes of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12. The stimuli were either all presented in the same plane (2D condition) or equally distributed across two depth planes (3D condition). We found a strong correlation between depth discrimination ability in the first task and differences in vWM performance between 3D vs. 2D conditions in the second task – subjects who were better at perceiving depth had selectively higher memory capacity in the 3D vs the 2D vWM task (rho 0.584, p-value 0.0043). This correlation grew increasingly strong with increasing set-size in the vWM task, suggesting that the ability to exploit depth information gave more benefits as the memory load increased.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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