June 2007
Volume 7, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2007
Memory for location is influenced by part-based segmentation of space
Author Affiliations
  • Mark Holden
    Department of Psychology, Temple University
  • Thomas Shipley
    Department of Psychology, Temple University
  • Nora Newcombe
    Department of Psychology, Temple University
Journal of Vision June 2007, Vol.7, 914. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/7.9.914
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Mark Holden, Thomas Shipley, Nora Newcombe; Memory for location is influenced by part-based segmentation of space. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):914. https://doi.org/10.1167/7.9.914.

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

Little is known about how people remember locations in complex environments. Huttenlocher, Hedges and Duncan (1991) suggested a model that includes metric information and categorization using spontaneously imposed spatial boundaries. Evidence for this comes from systematic error patterns in participants' recall of the location of a dot within simple forms (e.g., circles, rectangles, triangles). Recently, Wedell, Fitting and Allen (in press) examined the number of such boundaries within several different shapes, finding that the shape of the figure in which the dot is displayed affects the spacing, but not the number of prototypes.

However, the use of simple geometric stimuli may not capture spatial memory as it functions in a more naturalistic setting. Here, we asked participants to recall the locations of dots enclosed in complex shapes. Geometric models of part segmentation (e.g., Singh & Hoffman, 2001) make clear predictions about where complex figures will be subdivided into parts. These parts could serve as natural categories for the memory of locations.

Our results suggest parts play an important role in memory for location. Memory for dot location in a complex figure was subject to systematic distortions that are best explained in terms of spatial segmentation. Errors tended to reflect biases toward centers of component parts and towards prominent features (e.g., curvature extrema). This pattern of errors may reflect the use of different strategies, dependent upon the specific location within the figure. These strategies make use of local, rather than global categories.


HuttenlocherHedgesDuncan (1991). Categories and particulars- Prototype effects in estimating spatial location. Psychological Review, 98, 352–376.

WedellFittingAllen (in press). Shape effects on memory for location. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

SinghHoffman (2001). Part-based representations of visual shape and implications for visual cognition. In Shipley & Kellman's From fragments to objects. 401–459.

Holden, M. Shipley, T. Newcombe, N. (2007). Memory for location is influenced by part-based segmentation of space [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 7(9):914, 914a, http://journalofvision.org/7/9/914/, doi:10.1167/7.9.914. [CrossRef]

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.