Pattern span: a tool for unwelding visuo-spatial memory


Della Sala S, Gray C, Baddeley A, Allamano N & Wilson JTL (1999) Pattern span: a tool for unwelding visuo-spatial memory. Neuropsychologia, 37 (10), pp. 1189-1199.

Evidence showing that non-verbal short-term memory has distinct visual and spatial/sequential components is reviewed. A new test, The Visual Patterns Test (VPT), which was designed to measure short-term visual memory largely shorn of its spatio-sequential component, is described. Correlational studies of the VPT and the Corsi Blocks Test with healthy subjects and brain-damaged patients indicate a separation between visual and sequential abilities. This separation of function is supported by double dissociations shown by patients. Moreover, in a selective interference experiment, the VPT and the Corsi tests were found to show a double dissociation pattern of interference from visual and spatio-sequential subsidiary tasks, respectively. The present results are discussed in relation to other findings in the literature, and it is concluded that non-verbal short-term memory can indeed be viewed as comprising distinct visual and spatio-sequential components. The VPT will be a useful neuropsychological instrument for measuring the visual component

working memory; visual short-term memory; spatial short-term memory

Neuropsychologia: Volume 37, Issue 10

Publication date30/09/1999