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Hongsup Shin, Wei Ji Ma; Crowdsourced single-trial probes of visual working memory for irrelevant features. Journal of Vision 2016;16(5):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.5.10.
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We measured the precision with which an irrelevant feature of a relevant object is stored in visual short-term memory. In each experiment, 600 online subjects each completed 30 trials in which the same feature (orientation or color) was relevant, followed by a single surprise trial in which the other feature was relevant. Pooling data across all subjects, we find in a delayed-estimation task but not in a change localization task that the irrelevant feature is retrieved, but with much lower precision than when the same feature is relevant: The irrelevant/relevant precision ratio was 3.8% for orientation and 20.4% for color.
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