September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Percept-Concept Consistency Facilitates Memory
Author Affiliations
  • Yun-Hsuan Lai
    Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University
  • Karen Schloss
    Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 838. doi:
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      Yun-Hsuan Lai, Karen Schloss; Percept-Concept Consistency Facilitates Memory. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):838.

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

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We investigated how the perceptual organization of text affects memory for information presented in visual displays. It is well known that identical equally-spaced elements form a single perceptual unit, whereas unequally-spaced elements can elicit the percept of separate groups (grouping by proximity; Wertheimer, 1923). By analogy, placing text in a single paragraph groups all sentences into a perceptual unit, whereas adding blank lines between sentences causes them to form separate groups. When sentences that describe different concepts are spatially separated, the perceptual organization is consistent with the conceptual structure (percept-concept consistency). Does percept-concept consistency facilitate memory? Participants viewed a short excerpt about ‘chemo-fog’ (chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment). They were told they would see the excerpt for 30-sec and would then be asked to describe what they learned. The content of the excerpt included three sections: (1) definition of chemo-fog, (2) description of symptoms, and (3) call to provide more support for cancer survivors. There were three between-subject conditions: paragraph (all text presented as a single paragraph), bullet-list (text was spaced into three parts, reflecting the conceptual structure of the content with separate bullets for each symptom), and graphic-list (identical to bullet-list except bullet points were replaced by symbols representing each symptom). The words were identical across conditions. There was no difference in memory for the definition of chemo-fog (section 1), but participants remembered more symptoms (section 2) and were more likely to describe the call for support (section 3) in the bullet-list and graphic-list conditions than in the paragraph condition (there was no difference between bullet-list and graphic-list conditions). Therefore, percept-concept consistency facilitates memory. Further, participants’ aesthetic preference for the visual displays mirrored the memory results, except participants preferred the graphic-list displays to the bullet-list display. The results support a link between ease of processing (fluency) and aesthetic preference.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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