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Justin M. Ericson, Melissa R. Beck; Features or levels? Evidence for binding levels better than features.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):360. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.360.
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When briefly presented with global and local information, individuals perceive the global information faster, a phenomenon known as the global precedence effect (Navon, 1977). In this study we investigated whether, in visual working memory (VWM), binding features to global and local levels is more likely to occur than other types of feature binding (e.g., binding features to spatial location or serial position). Ericson & Beck (VSS 2011) demonstrated that there is a bias towards global information in VWM, and that biasing attention to either global or local levels affects representations in memory. The current study expanded on this work. Across two experiments, participants performed a change detection task for three Navon figures, in which a larger (global) letter is composed of smaller (local) letters. Experiment 1 used a paradigm similar to traditional binding tasks, such that three Navon figures were displayed on the screen simultaneously. A greater proportion of errors were found when features were exchanged between two Navon figures than when the local and global features were switched within a single Navon. This result suggests that there is a bias towards level binding in VWM, and not towards binding the object features together. Experiment 2 expanded on these findings, but used a serial presentation of Navon figures for the change detection task. Overall performance replicated the result of Experiment 1, and regardless of the serial position of the Navon, a bias occured toward binding level information rather than binding object features together. Our findings give new insight to not only how the global precedence effect occurs in VWM, but also into possible limitations associated with feature-binding in VWM.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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