October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Visual Working Memory Organizes Functional Related Objects beyond the Spatiotemporal Limit
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ziyi Duan
    Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Xuchen Song
    Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Rende Shui
    Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Jifan Zhou
    Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Mowei Shen
    Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Xiaowei Ding
    Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  1. Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (19YJA190004). 2. Fundamental Research Funds for Colleges and Universities-Key Training Program for Young Teachers(19wkzd23).
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 172. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.172
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      Ziyi Duan, Xuchen Song, Rende Shui, Jifan Zhou, Mowei Shen, Xiaowei Ding; Visual Working Memory Organizes Functional Related Objects beyond the Spatiotemporal Limit. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):172. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.172.

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

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Abstract

Functional relations can be directly “seen” and used to organize perceptual representations, but interactive positions are prerequisites for such perceptual grouping. The current study examined whether visual working memory (VWM) could automatically take advantage of functional relations in a more flexible way. In three experiments, participants were required to memorize a set of objects while ignoring the underlying relations between them. Results showed that although functional grouping was task-irrelevant, functional relations between objects could be extracted and used to enhance memory performance. More interestingly, functionally related objects could be grouped in the working memory phase even when they were not spatial interactive (Experiment 2). It was different from the perceptual grouping effect (Experiment 1) and reveals a unique memory grouping mode. Moreover, such functional grouping could still happen when object pairs entered VWM sequentially (Experiment 3), suggesting an active modification according to functional relations inside VWM. These findings suggest that VWM representations can be automatically structured through functional grouping, and grouping takes place in a flexible manner that can break the spatiotemporal constraints of perception.

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