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Ivan Annicchiarico, Summer Sheremata; The role of feature binding in the relationship between visual attention and visual short-term memory. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):675. doi: 10.1167/18.10.675.
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Similar mechanisms underlie feature binding in visual perception and short-term memory. Feature binding is an essential process that allows us to perceive integrated objects. While feature integration in perception is well documented, it is debated whether it reflects the same cognitive and neural processes across different tasks. Importantly, feature-binding deficits have been found in Alzheimer's disease during visual short-term memory (VSTM). It is unclear whether these deficits reflect impairment in the binding of features independent of memory demands, or an impairment due to increased demands on the memory processes themselves. In order to understand these deficits, we need to know whether feature binding relies upon similar mechanisms across tasks in young, healthy adults. In a series of experiments, we therefore asked whether the performance cost for feature binding was similar across tasks in healthy young adults. Participants performed two tasks in which they had to identify a target based upon a single feature (shape or color) or binding of the same two features. In the attention task, participants were shown a target and then asked to report whether it appeared within a set of three colored shapes. In the VSTM task, participants performed a change detection in which they were asked to remember 3 colored shapes and then probed with a single colored shape at fixation. We then measured the correlation of feature binding cost (single feature performance – feature binding performance) across the two tasks. Across experiments, we found a moderately high correlation for the feature binding cost, suggesting similar mechanisms for feature binding in perception and memory. We therefore propose that feature binding relies upon the same cognitive mechanisms regardless of task demands.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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