No evidence for binding of items to task-irrelevant backgrounds in visual working memory

Rob Udale, Simon Farrell, Christopher Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

When representing visual features such as color and shape in visual working memory (VWM), participants also represent the locations of those features as a spatial configuration of the locations of those features in the display. In everyday life, we encounter objects against some background, yet it is unclear whether the configural representation in memory obligatorily constitutes the entire display, including that (often task-irrelevant) background information. In three experiments, participants completed a change detection task on color and shape; the memoranda were presented in front of uniform gray backgrounds, a textured background (Exp. 1), or a background containing location placeholders (Exps. 2 and 3). When whole-display probes were presented, changes to the objects’ locations or feature bindings impacted memory performance—implying that the spatial configuration of the probes influenced participants’ change decisions. Furthermore, when only a single item was probed, the effect of changing its location or feature bindings was either diminished or completely extinguished, implying that single probes do not necessarily elicit the entire spatial configuration. Critically, when task-irrelevant backgrounds were also presented that may have provided a spatial configuration for the single probes, the effect of location or bindings was not moderated. These findings suggest that although the spatial configuration of a display guides VWM-based recognition, this information does not necessarily always influence the decision process during change detection.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1144–1159
Number of pages16
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Fingerprint

Short-Term Memory
Color
Visual Working Memory
Recognition (Psychology)

Cite this

@article{e21ad6398a264c8fa08094d0482848a0,
title = "No evidence for binding of items to task-irrelevant backgrounds in visual working memory",
abstract = "When representing visual features such as color and shape in visual working memory (VWM), participants also represent the locations of those features as a spatial configuration of the locations of those features in the display. In everyday life, we encounter objects against some background, yet it is unclear whether the configural representation in memory obligatorily constitutes the entire display, including that (often task-irrelevant) background information. In three experiments, participants completed a change detection task on color and shape; the memoranda were presented in front of uniform gray backgrounds, a textured background (Exp. 1), or a background containing location placeholders (Exps. 2 and 3). When whole-display probes were presented, changes to the objects’ locations or feature bindings impacted memory performance—implying that the spatial configuration of the probes influenced participants’ change decisions. Furthermore, when only a single item was probed, the effect of changing its location or feature bindings was either diminished or completely extinguished, implying that single probes do not necessarily elicit the entire spatial configuration. Critically, when task-irrelevant backgrounds were also presented that may have provided a spatial configuration for the single probes, the effect of location or bindings was not moderated. These findings suggest that although the spatial configuration of a display guides VWM-based recognition, this information does not necessarily always influence the decision process during change detection.",
keywords = "Change detection, Feature binding, Location binding, Relational encoding, Visual working memory",
author = "Rob Udale and Simon Farrell and Christopher Kent",
year = "2017",
month = "10",
doi = "10.3758/s13421-017-0727-y",
language = "English",
volume = "45",
pages = "1144–1159",
journal = "Memory & Cognition",
issn = "0090-502X",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "7",

}

No evidence for binding of items to task-irrelevant backgrounds in visual working memory. / Udale, Rob; Farrell, Simon; Kent, Christopher.

In: Memory and Cognition, Vol. 45, No. 7, 10.2017, p. 1144–1159.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - No evidence for binding of items to task-irrelevant backgrounds in visual working memory

AU - Udale,Rob

AU - Farrell,Simon

AU - Kent,Christopher

PY - 2017/10

Y1 - 2017/10

N2 - When representing visual features such as color and shape in visual working memory (VWM), participants also represent the locations of those features as a spatial configuration of the locations of those features in the display. In everyday life, we encounter objects against some background, yet it is unclear whether the configural representation in memory obligatorily constitutes the entire display, including that (often task-irrelevant) background information. In three experiments, participants completed a change detection task on color and shape; the memoranda were presented in front of uniform gray backgrounds, a textured background (Exp. 1), or a background containing location placeholders (Exps. 2 and 3). When whole-display probes were presented, changes to the objects’ locations or feature bindings impacted memory performance—implying that the spatial configuration of the probes influenced participants’ change decisions. Furthermore, when only a single item was probed, the effect of changing its location or feature bindings was either diminished or completely extinguished, implying that single probes do not necessarily elicit the entire spatial configuration. Critically, when task-irrelevant backgrounds were also presented that may have provided a spatial configuration for the single probes, the effect of location or bindings was not moderated. These findings suggest that although the spatial configuration of a display guides VWM-based recognition, this information does not necessarily always influence the decision process during change detection.

AB - When representing visual features such as color and shape in visual working memory (VWM), participants also represent the locations of those features as a spatial configuration of the locations of those features in the display. In everyday life, we encounter objects against some background, yet it is unclear whether the configural representation in memory obligatorily constitutes the entire display, including that (often task-irrelevant) background information. In three experiments, participants completed a change detection task on color and shape; the memoranda were presented in front of uniform gray backgrounds, a textured background (Exp. 1), or a background containing location placeholders (Exps. 2 and 3). When whole-display probes were presented, changes to the objects’ locations or feature bindings impacted memory performance—implying that the spatial configuration of the probes influenced participants’ change decisions. Furthermore, when only a single item was probed, the effect of changing its location or feature bindings was either diminished or completely extinguished, implying that single probes do not necessarily elicit the entire spatial configuration. Critically, when task-irrelevant backgrounds were also presented that may have provided a spatial configuration for the single probes, the effect of location or bindings was not moderated. These findings suggest that although the spatial configuration of a display guides VWM-based recognition, this information does not necessarily always influence the decision process during change detection.

KW - Change detection

KW - Feature binding

KW - Location binding

KW - Relational encoding

KW - Visual working memory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85025114044&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3758/s13421-017-0727-y

DO - 10.3758/s13421-017-0727-y

M3 - Article

VL - 45

SP - 1144

EP - 1159

JO - Memory & Cognition

T2 - Memory & Cognition

JF - Memory & Cognition

SN - 0090-502X

IS - 7

ER -