September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Working memory for depth indicates a serial-position effect
Author Affiliations
  • Ke Zhang
    Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University
  • Jiehui Qian
    Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 702. doi:
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      Ke Zhang, Jiehui Qian; Working memory for depth indicates a serial-position effect. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):702.

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

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One of the subsystems of Baddeley's model on working memory is visuo-spatial sketchpad. It involves temporarily holding and processing visual information and spatial information. Although research on visual working memory is extensive, most studies employed visual stimuli presented at the fronto-parallel plane and few involve depth perception. To our knowledge, working memory for depth has not been investigated yet. Here, we explored depth working memory (DWM) by using a change detection task and an estimation task. The memory items were presented at various depth planes perpendicular to the line of sight, with one item per depth plane. The depth planes were separated by relative disparities ranging from -0.51◦ to 0.51◦ with a step of 0.17◦ using a Wheatstone stereoscope. Participants were required to make judgment on depth where the target (one of the memory items) located. We found that: 1) the change detection accuracy was much lower than that reported for visual working memory; 2) the memory performance (accuracy and estimation error) degraded with the number of memory items presented (set size); 3) the accuracy was higher for items presented at the nearest and farthest depth planes in relation to participants; 4) the performance was better when the probe was presented along with the other items originally in the memory array. These findings suggest that storage for depth information is more limited and imprecise than that for visual information, and the memory performance improves if references are provided. In addition, the advantage for memorizing the nearest and farthest depth suggests a serial-position effect, and indicates that DWM depends on the egocentric distance between an observer and the to-be-remembered object.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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