Visual Short-Term Memory: Is Capacity Dependent on Complexity or Familiarity?

Publikation: KonferencebidragPosterForskning

Several recent studies have explored the nature and limits of visual short-term memory (VSTM) (e.g. Luck & Vogel, 1997). A general VSTM capacity limit of about 3 to 4 objects has been found, confirming results from earlier studies (e.g. Cattell, 1885; Sperling, 1960). However, Alvarez and Cavanagh (2004) have argued that the capacity of VSTM is dependent on visual complexity rather than the number of objects. Contrary to this, we hypothesise that VSTM capacity is dependent on familiarity rather than the visual complexity of the stored items. In two studies, we explored how familiarity influences the capacity of VSTM. 1) In children learning to read, we found an increase in VSTM capacity for letters, while the capacity for line drawings (Snodgrass & Vanderwart, 1980) remained unchanged. 2) In further investigations, we found that Japanese readers had a larger VSTM capacity for Japanese Kanji symbols than non-Japanese readers while the capacity for letters and pictures remained similar. Our results indicate that VSTM capacity for familiar items is larger irrespective of visual complexity.
StatusUdgivet - 2006
BegivenhedPerspectives on Memory and Cognition - Århus, Danmark
Varighed: 8 jun. 20069 jun. 2006


KonferencePerspectives on Memory and Cognition

ID: 9856349