September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Perceptual Grouping Influences Neural Correlates of Spatial Working Memory
Author Affiliations
  • Laura Rabbitt
    Psychology, George Mason University
  • Craig McDonald
    Psychology, George Mason University
  • Matthew Peterson
    Psychology, George Mason University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 120. doi:
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      Laura Rabbitt, Craig McDonald, Matthew Peterson; Perceptual Grouping Influences Neural Correlates of Spatial Working Memory. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):120.

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

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Spatial working memory is limited in the number of locations that can be maintained over time but can be improved when stimuli are organized into familiar patterns. This study examined the neural correlates of spatial working memory (SWM), specifically if SWM could be measured by the contralateral delay activity (CDA), an event-related potential known to index visual working memory. Additionally, the study investigated whether or not task instruction would alter the amplitude of the CDA in the SWM task. In the current study, participants performed a SWM change detection task where participants were cued to remember the locations of 1 – 4 colored squares on one side of a bilateral array, indicated by a cue prior to the beginning of the trial. At the beginning of the experiment, participants were given one of two instruction types: to remember the individual location of the squares (spatial instructions), or to remember the squares by grouping them into a single unit (constellation instructions). Results of the experiment demonstrated that the CDA indexes the number of items in SWM and increases in amplitude as the number of locations to remember increases. Unlike the spatial instruction condition, the CDA reached an asymptote for two locations in the constellation instruction condition. Additionally, the CDA amplitude was sustained for a longer period of time in the constellation instruction condition than for the individual location instructions. These results indicate that the CDA can measure SWM and how perceptual grouping influence the pattern and duration of neural correlates of SWM.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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