ECVP 2008 Abstract

Cite as:
Rensink R A, 2008, "Limits to the use of iconic memory" Perception 37 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 45

Limits to the use of iconic memory

R A Rensink

Do all visual processes use iconic memory equally well? Search for a given target was carried out on displays that were continually interrupted: After a fixed display time (on-time), the display was blanked for a brief interval (off-time); this was repeated until the observer responded or timed out. The question is whether performance is affected when observers use iconic memory for different fractions of the display cycle. On-times varied between 80 ms and 200 ms; off-times between 120 ms and 240 ms. Results: For detection of a fixed target, search was unaffected by off-times as long as 240 ms. For detection of a changing target, search proceeded while the stimuli were visible plus an additional 110 ms. After that it was suspended, even though the information was still available in iconic memory. Conclusions: Iconic memory can last at least 240 ms, but some processes (likely those involving feedback loops) cannot use it beyond a limit of 110 ms.
[Supported by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd (Japan) and NSERC (Canada).]

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