December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Spatial Massive Memory
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeremy Wolfe
    Brigham and Womens Hospital
    Harvard Medical School
  • Wanyi Lyu
    Brigham and Womens Hospital
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  NEI EY017001, NSF 1848783, Minds, Brain, and Behavior program, Harvard College,
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3561. doi:
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      Jeremy Wolfe, Wanyi Lyu; Spatial Massive Memory. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3561.

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

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After viewing hundreds of objects, observers can discriminate old from new items with accuracy of ~80%. Does this massive memory extend to WHERE the objects were seen? Thirteen observers saw arrays of 15 items, randomly located in jiggled 7x7 arrays. Arrays were shown for 30 seconds with each item highlighted for 2 seconds. After each array, Os were tested with 15 old and 15 new images. If an item was deemed “old”, observers clicked on the screen location where they thought the item had been located. observers completed 20 screens (300 objects). After those 20 screens, observers were retested with all 300 old objects and 300 new objects. They repeated the old/new and localization tasks. Old/new discrimination was good (test: d’=2.6, retest:1.8). To measure spatial memory, we tabulated the number of localization clicks that fell within +/- 1 cell of the target location in the 7x7 array. From this we subtracted the number that could have fallen in that ROI by chance. By this conservative measure, observers correctly localized 6.6 of 15 items per screen at test. On retest, they correctly localized 76(!) of the 300 old objects. This is surprisingly robust memory for items presented for 2 sec in random arrays with no semantic clues. We repeated the experiment at array sizes of 5, 25, and 49 items (300 total old items). Observers correctly localized 50-100 items at retest, though a substantial fraction of on-line observers seemed to guess about location in retest after viewing 25 and 49 item arrays. This “spatial massive memory” is surprisingly good, obviously far in excess of any working memory capacity. Spatial massive memory appears to be smaller than massive memory for identity showing that it is possible to recognize that you have seen an item and not remember where.


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