September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Encoding strategies in visual working memory
Author Affiliations
  • Hagar Cohen
    The School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University
  • Halely Balaban
    The School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University
    The Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University
  • Roy Luria
    The School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University
    The Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 113. doi:
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      Hagar Cohen, Halely Balaban, Roy Luria; Encoding strategies in visual working memory. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):113.

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

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The goal of the present study was to examine which type of task, either simple or complex, receives higher priority when encoded into visual working memory. Participants performed the change detection task with arrays of 2 and 3 items that could be either colored squares (the simple task), random polygons (the complex task) or a mixture of both stimuli. By equating the number of items in each comparison while varying complexity level, we were able to measure how the addition of complex object effects the encoding of simple objects and vice-versa. In experiment 1, accuracy for color was not further affected by the addition of polygon relative to adding another color, but polygon performance significantly decreased when appeared next to a color or another polygon, indicating a preference for encoding simple items. In experiment 2 we replaced the random polygons with difficult to distinguish colors, and replicated the results of the previous experiment, suggesting that the results were not due to category preference. In experiment 3, we encouraged participants to encode the polygons by telling them that on trials in which colors and polygons are presented together, the chance of the polygon to be the probed item is much higher than that of color (which was indeed the case). We found an increase in accuracy for polygons (relative to Experiment 1), accompanied with a mild decrease in color performance. Our results suggests that although participant's initial strategy is to encode the items in the simple task, they're able to change it when motivated doing so.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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