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Remembering Visual Feature Conjunctions: Visual Memory for Shape–Colour Associations is Object-based.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1998
JournalVisual Cognition
Journal number4
Volume5
Number of pages47
Pages409-455
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Visual features can be separately represented in short-term memory so that remembering how they were conjoined to form distinct objects presents additional problems. The involvement of visuo-spatial and verbal representations in memory for visual feature conjunctions is examined in both a review of recent research and a series of five experiments exploring the unitization effect in memory for shape–colour associations. In these experiments, the involvement of verbal representations is controlled in three ways: first, by using shapes varying in nameability; second, by imposing articulatory suppression during encoding of to-be-remembered displays; and, finally, by eliminating all non-visual representational forms through creating sets of shapes based on a single letter of the alphabet. Results concurwiththe conclusions drawn fromrecent research.Verbal representations support memory for shape-colour associations equally well whether the individual features are perceived to belong to the same object or to different objects. In contrast, visual representations support memory for shape–colour associations only when the individual features are perceived to belong to the same object, implying that visual representations are strictly object-based. Object-based visual processing is thus shown to extend beyond selective attention to briefly presented displays and to incorporate the representation in memory of stimuli presented for more extended periods.