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Conceptual Distinctiveness Supports Detailed Visual Long-Term Memory for Real-World Objects
 

Summary: Conceptual Distinctiveness Supports Detailed Visual Long-Term Memory
for Real-World Objects
Talia Konkle and Timothy F. Brady
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
George A. Alvarez
Harvard University
Aude Oliva
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Humans have a massive capacity to store detailed information in visual long-term memory. The present
studies explored the fidelity of these visual long-term memory representations and examined how
conceptual and perceptual features of object categories support this capacity. Observers viewed 2,800
object images with a different number of exemplars presented from each category. At test, observers
indicated which of 2 exemplars they had previously studied. Memory performance was high and
remained quite high (82% accuracy) with 16 exemplars from a category in memory, demonstrating a
large memory capacity for object exemplars. However, memory performance decreased as more exem-
plars were held in memory, implying systematic categorical interference. Object categories with con-
ceptually distinctive exemplars showed less interference in memory as the number of exemplars
increased. Interference in memory was not predicted by the perceptual distinctiveness of exemplars from
an object category, though these perceptual measures predicted visual search rates for an object target
among exemplars. These data provide evidence that observers' capacity to remember visual information

  

Source: Alvarez, George A. - Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Edelman, Shimon - Departments of Computer Science & Psychology, Cornell University
Oliva, Aude - Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences