August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Attention and InformationTransfer from Visual Sensory to Visual Working Memory
Author Affiliations
  • Jane Jacob
    Department of Psychology, University of Houston
  • Shon MonDragon
    Department of Psychology, University of Houston
  • Bruno Breitmeyer
    Department of Psychology, University of Houston\nCenter for Neuro-Engineering and Cognitive Science, University of Houston
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 301. doi:
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      Jane Jacob, Shon MonDragon, Bruno Breitmeyer; Attention and InformationTransfer from Visual Sensory to Visual Working Memory. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):301.

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

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Visual information first enters visual short-term memory through a brief sensory register (iconic memory) and is then transferred to a more durable visual working memory (VWM) store. Previous masking studies (e.g., Michaels & Turvey, 1979) indicate that transfer of items from iconic memory to VWM requires attention. However, it is unclear whether the same or separate attentional resources are called on for transfer into and for maintenance of visual information within VWM. The current experiment was designed to address this question. Observers were presented with an initial color display consisting of one, two or else three colors for 300ms.These displays, varying in load, were to be encoded in VWM for later comparison to a color probe. Each display was followed by an array of six letters for 10ms. Observers were first asked to report as many of the letters as possible, and then were shown the color probe and asked to indicate whether it was or was not shown in the initial color display. Results indicate separate attentional resources for transfer of information into and its maintenance within VWM. While increase of VWM load, as expected, decreased the total number of items that could be transferred into VWM, the increase in VWM load did not affect the rate of transfer from iconic memory to VWM. These findings develop the foundation for deeper explorations of information processing in visual memories. Michaels, C.F. and Turvey, M.T. (1979). Central sources of visual masking: Indexing structures supporting seeing at a single, brief glance. Psychological Research, 41, 1-61.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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