December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
An emerging landscape for the study of naturalistic visual memory
Author Affiliations
  • Wilma Bainbridge
    University of Chicago
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3206. doi:
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      Wilma Bainbridge; An emerging landscape for the study of naturalistic visual memory. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3206.

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

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Our memories are often rich and visually vivid, sometimes even resembling their original percepts when called to mind. Yet, until recently, our methods for quantifying the visual content in memories have been unable to capture this wealth of detail, relying on simple, static stimuli, and testing memory with low-information visual recognition or verbal recall tasks. Because of this, we have been largely unable to answer fundamental questions such as what aspects of a visual event drive memory, or how the neural representations of perceived and recalled visual content compare. However, in recent years, new methods in quantifying visual memories have emerged, following the growth of naturalistic vision research more broadly. Instead of verbal recall, drawings can directly depict the visual content in memory, at a level of detail allowing us to simultaneously explore questions about object memory, spatial memory, visual-semantic interactions, and false memories. Social media is presenting new memory stimulus sets on the order of hundreds or thousands, allowing us to examine neural representations for diverse memories across years. And, the internet has also allowed us to identify surprising new phenomena in memory—such as the existence of shared visual false memories learned across people (the “Visual Mandela Effect”), or the existence of a population of individuals who lack visual recall in spite of intact perception (“aphantasia”). In this talk, I will present exciting new directions in the naturalistic study of visual memory and provide resources for those interested in pursuing their own studies of naturalistic memory.


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