September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Dissociable Effects of Depressed Mood, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and Age on the Number and Quality of Visual Working Memory Representations
Author Affiliations
  • Weiwei Zhang
    Dept. of Psychology, UC Riverside
  • Weizhen Xie
    Dept. of Psychology, UC Riverside
  • Marcus Cappiello
    Dept. of Psychology, UC Riverside
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 351. doi:
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      Weiwei Zhang, Weizhen Xie, Marcus Cappiello; Dissociable Effects of Depressed Mood, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and Age on the Number and Quality of Visual Working Memory Representations. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):351. doi:

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

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Limited storage in Visual Working memory (VWM) sets a major constraint on a variety of cognitive and affective processes. Additional reduction of this central bottleneck has been associated with declines in various health related factors such as depressed mood, Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD), and age. The present study examined the disruptive effects of these factors on quantitative (i.e., the number of retained representations) and qualitative (i.e., precision) aspects of VWM representations. In two studies, participants completed a short-term color recall task along with questionnaires on mental health including depressed mood, SPD, and demographic information. Study 1 showed that depressed mood was associated with reduced VWM storage capacity, whereas SPD was associated with reduced mnemonic precision (assessed as the inverse of recall variability after randomness in recall was factored out). These patterns were absent in sensory memory, indicating the VWM effects were post-perceptual. Study 2 replicated the reduction in VWM storage capacity by depressed mood and further demonstrated that chronological age negatively correlated with VWM precision. The latter effect remained significant after statistically controlling the contribution of poor sleep quality that was associated with age. These results demonstrate that depression, SPD, and age can have dissociable effects of on VWM representations, in line with the growing literature suggesting that the two aspects of VWM representations can be disassociated using different experimental manipulations and supported by non-overlapping neural mechanisms. Together, these findings support that the quantity of retained VWM representations can be independent of their quality.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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