The Visual Short-Term Memory Theory

I really enjoyed reading Lee & Chun (2001) and learning about visual short-term memory (VSTM). It made me think of the visual word form area (VWFA), and I am wondering if the two concepts are related to each other. The theory in this study says that the VSTM allows for temporary storage of visual information that can be distinguished from iconic memory and verbal short-term memory. Duncan (1984) found that accuracy was higher when the participants were required to report two features that belong to either the box or the line. Lee & Chun (2001) conducted a follow-up study that investigates whether VSTM capacity is object-based or space-based. The study conducted three experiments. Their hypothesis was that VSTM capacity is defined by the number of spatial locations in which visual items are presented. For the first experiment,  they recruited 10 participants to observe all visual stimuli. The sample array was presented for 200 msec and followed by an 800 msec delay before the test stimulus was presented. For the second experiment, the study recruited 8 participants and the procedure was similar to the first experiment, except that all lines were presented in red and all boxes were presented in green. For the third experiment, the study recruited 8 participants, and only one object (a line or a box) was presented as the test stimulus. The results of the study suggest that the number of spatial locations occupied by visual information does not influence VSTM performance, and this is an example of dissociation. Furthermore, the study found that the number of objects occupying various locations can influence the VSTM capacity, which is an example of association. The concept of process was demonstrated when participants observed all visual stimuli and pressed one key when the test stimulus was identical to the item that had appeared in the same location in the sample array. Recognizing individual features, such as orientation and color would be when the concept of representation is expressed. 

Work Cited

Lee, D., & Chun, M. M. (2001). What are the units of visual short-term memory, objects or spatial locations? Perception & Psychophysics,63(2), 253-257. doi:10.3758/bf03194466

DUNCAN, J. (1984). Selective attention and the organization of visual information.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,113, 501–517.

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