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Diana C Perez, Mary A Peterson; An investigation on the influence of prior experience on working memory representations. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.38.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previously we showed that familiar objects appear sharper than equally blurry novel objects when presented simultaneously. We hypothesized that the perceived sharpening of the familiar object results from the integration of long-term memories (LTM) (likely to be sharper on average) with the input, resulting in a percept that is sharper than what was presented on the screen. Such integration could not occur for novel objects, lacking previous experiences. Schurgin et al. (2018) showed that long-term memories (LTM) can replace active maintenance in working memory (WM). In the present study, we investigated whether the substitution of sharper LTMs for familiar than novel objects can alter matches in a WM task. Participants saw a blurry object for 180ms (standard); after a 500ms ISI, a test version of the same object was shown (180ms). The standard blur level was 5, 7, or 9; the test blur level was either equal to the standard or one or two levels above or below it. Participants’ task was to report whether the test object was the same or different level of blur as the standard. Trials testing perception of a familiar object (a lamp) or a novel object created by spatially rearranging the parts of the familiar stimulus were intermixed. We expected that if LTM replaced the standard in WM, test object choices would be sharper for familiar objects than for novel objects. Preliminary results show no significant difference between the blur value at which the familiar and novel test objects are perceived as equal to the standard (p=0.15, n=19). We plan to test whether the lack of an effect is due to the long ISI, to using the same object as standard and test, or to interference with WM caused by presenting the standard and test stimuli in the same location.
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