Creating and maintaining accurate bindings of elementary features (e.g., color and shape) in visual short-term memory (VSTM) is fundamental for veridical perception. How are low-level features bound in memory? The present work harnessed a multivariate model of perception – the General Recognition Theory (GRT) – to unravel the internal representations underlying feature binding in VSTM. On each trial, preview and target colored shapes were presented in succession, appearing in either repeated or altered spatial locations. Participants gave two same/different responses: one with respect to color and one with respect to shape. Converging GRT analyses on the accuracy confusion matrices provided substantial evidence for binding in the form of violations of perceptual independence at the level of the individual stimulus, such that positive correlations were obtained when both features repeated or alternated together, while negative correlations were obtained when one feature repeated and the other alternated. This “cloverleaf” GRT pattern of binding was similar whether the spatial location of the preview and target repeated or altered. The current results are consistent with: (a) the discrete memory “slots” model of VSTM, and (b) the notion that spatial location is not necessary for the formation of “object files.” The GRT approach presented here offers a viable quantitative model for testing various questions regarding feature binding in VSTM.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2017
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