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Dawn A. Morales, Harold E. Pashler, Amy E. Carpenter, Sharon Thompson-Schill; Rehearsal, distraction, and consolidation in memory for color and form. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):391. doi: 10.1167/4.8.391.
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What characteristics would a non-verbal rehearsal process for color memory have? Working memory is thought to require active (Baddeley 1986) or inhibitory processes (Baddeley 1996) for maintaining and re-circulating information . Therefore, visuo-spatial working memory may require rehearsal much as verbal working memory does (Murray 1968). Maintenance of pattern information in visuo-spatial working memory is substantially impaired if observers are distracted during the memory delay (Phillips and Christie 1977). Visuo-spatial working memory for pattern also requires a consolidation phase after stimulus-offset that is dependant on central processing mechanisms (Jolicoeur and Dell' Acqua 1998; Vogel and Luck 2002). We investigated the effect of distraction on visuo-spatial memory by comparing memory performance on a same-different recognition memory task with unfilled delays to performance when the memory delay was filled with a distracting task. Observers saw a color patches and either experienced blank, non-distracted memory delays of 8 seconds or memory delays filled with a complex subtraction task. The average decrement in performance (mean unfilled minus mean filled) was not significant, d′ difference score was 0.43, t(27)=1.69 < 2.05, p=0.10. In a similar experiment, observers saw abstract black-and-white checkerboard patterns in a same-different recognition memory task, with either unfilled delays or delays filled with a subtraction task. The average decrement was not significant either, d′ difference score was 0.07, t(15)=1.33 < 2.13, p=0.20.
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