Mean size as a unit of visual working memory

Hee Yeon Im, Sang Chul Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Visual environments often contain multiple elements, some of which are similar to one another or spatially grouped together. In the current study we investigated how one can use perceptual groups in representing ensemble features of the groups. In experiment 1 we found that participants' performance improved when items were easily segmented by a grouping cue based on proximity, suggesting that spatial grouping facilitates extracting and remembering ensemble representations from visual arrays consisting of multiple elements. In experiment 2 we found that spatial grouping improved performance only when the grouped subsets were tested for the memory task, whereas it impaired performance when other subsets that were not grouped were tested, suggesting that the benefit from grouping may come from better extraction for storage, rather than later decision processes such as accessibility. Taken together, our results suggest that perceptual grouping of multiple items by proximity facilitates extraction of ensemble statistics from groups of items, enhancing visual memory of the ensembles in a visual array.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-676
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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