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Jifan Zhou, Haokui Xu, Haihang Zhang, Rende Shui, Mowei Shen; The working memory Ponzo illusion: Involuntary integration of visuospatial information stored in visual working memory. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):957. doi: 10.1167/15.12.957.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual working memory (VWM) has been traditionally viewed as a mental structure subsequent to visual perception that stores the final output of perceptual processing. However, VWM has recently been emphasized as a critical component of online perception, providing storage for the intermediate perceptual representations produced during visual processing. This interactive view holds the core assumption that VWM is not the terminus of perceptual processing; the stored visual information rather continues to undergo perceptual processing if necessary. The current study tests this assumption, demonstrating an example of involuntary integration of the VWM content, by creating the Ponzo illusion in VWM: when the Ponzo illusion figure was divided into its individual components and sequentially encoded into VWM (so that the four lines in Ponzo figure components were never simultaneously presented), the temporally separated components were involuntarily integrated, leading to the distorted length perception of the two horizontal lines. This VWM Ponzo illusion was replicated when the figure components were presented in different combinations and presentation order. The magnitude of the illusion was significantly correlated between VWM and perceptual versions of the Ponzo illusion. These results suggest that the information integration underling the VWM Ponzo illusion is constrained by the laws of visual perception and similarly affected by the common individual factors that govern its perception. Thus, our findings provide compelling evidence that VWM functions as a buffer serving perceptual processes at early stages.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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