ERIC Number: EJ779559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Visual Working Memory for Observed Actions
Wood, Justin N.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v136 n4 p639-652 Nov 2007
Human society depends on the ability to remember the actions of other individuals, which is information that must be stored in a temporary buffer to guide behavior after actions have been observed. To date, however, the storage capacity, contents, and architecture of working memory for observed actions are unknown. In this article, the author shows that it is possible to retain information about only 2-3 actions in visual working memory at once. However, it is also possible to retain 9 properties distributed across 3 actions almost as well as 3 properties distributed across 3 actions, showing that working memory stores integrated action representations rather than individual properties. Finally, the author shows that working memory for observed actions is independent from working memory for object and spatial information. These results provide evidence for a previously undocumented system in working memory for storing information about actions. Further, this system operates by the same storage principles as visual working memory for object information. Thus, working memory consists of a series of distinct yet computationally similar mechanisms for retaining different types of visual information.
Descriptors: Spatial Ability, Short Term Memory, Cognitive Processes, Retention (Psychology), Visual Stimuli, Observation, Experimental Psychology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A