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Youngseon Shin, Summer Sheremata; Distinct memory processes for high- and low-capacity individuals beyond their memory capacity. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):859. doi: 10.1167/17.10.859.
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Visual short-term memory (VSTM) actively maintains visual information for ongoing tasks. However, the amount of visual information an individual can maintain, or capacity, is highly limited and varies between individuals. The performance of VSTM related task is near perfect up to an individual's VSTM capacity, and it drops as the number of items in the task increases. Here we report evidence supporting different patterns of memory performance between high and low memory capacity individuals above their capacity. In the first block, we measured memory capacity of individuals using a change detection task with set sizes based on each individual's Pashler's K in the following blocks: easy block: K-1, K, K+1, and difficult block: K+1, K+2, K+3. We found that both low- and high-capacity individuals reached plateau performance in the easy block. However only high capacity subjects sustained plateau performance in set sizes beyond their capacity. Low-capacity individuals are more susceptible to exceed the number of objects being held in the memory. The effect of set size above memory capacity indicates that memory performance at high set sizes is associated with distinct memory processes for high- and low-capacity individuals. Low capacity individuals are less able to ignore additional information and they might try to remember all of items resulting in poor memory representations at high set sizes
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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