Components of visual memory


Phillips W & Christie DFM (1977) Components of visual memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29 (1), pp. 117-133.

Visual recognition memory for a sequence of non-verbalized patterns is shown to have a large and clearly defined recency effect. This recency effect occurs with random list lengths and therefore cannot be due to differential processing of the end items. The effect is completely removed by just 3 s of mental arithmetic but survives for at least 10 s over unfilled intervals. Recognition memory for patterns at other serial positions is slower, less accurate, and shows no primacy effect; performance at these earlier serial positions is dependent upon the time for which patterns are initially presented, but is unaffected by the duration of the retention interval, mental arithmetic, and the time between patterns on initial presentation. These findings provide evidence that visual memory has two components that are closely analogous to the short-term (STM) and long-term (LTM) components of verbal memory. Visual STM, here called visualization, has a capacity of one pattern, cannot be activated LTM, and does not seem to be the gateway to LTM.

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Volume 29, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/1977
PublisherTaylor and Francis