Visual memory benefits from prolonged encoding time regardless of stimulus type

Xinyu Li, Zijun Xiong, Jan Theeuwes, Benchi Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

It is generally assumed that the storage capacity of visual working memory (VWM) is limited, holding about 3-4 items. Recent work with real-world objects, however, has challenged this view by providing evidence that the VWM capacity for real-world objects is not fixed but instead increases with prolonged encoding time (Brady, Stormer, & Alvarez, 2016). Critically, in this study, no increase with prolonged encoding time was observed for storing simple colors. Brady et al. (2016) argued that the larger capacity for real-world objects relative to colors is due to the additional conceptual information of real-world objects. With basically the same methods of Brady et al., in Experiments 1-3, we were unable to replicate their basic findings. Instead, we found that visual memory for simple colors also benefited from prolonged encoding time. Experiment 4 showed that the scale of the encoding time benefit was the same for familiar and unfamiliar objects, suggesting that the added conceptual information does not contribute to this benefit. We conclude that visual memory benefits from prolonged encoding time regardless of stimulus type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1998-2005
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume46
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Encoding time benefits
  • Long-term memory
  • Real-world objects
  • Visual working memory

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