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Visual-Spatial Working Memory

Pilots keep track of a dizzying amount of visual information while operating commercial and military aircraft. Air traffic controllers on the ground must remember the contents of their radar displays while executing multiple peripheral tasks. Automobile drivers must remember the positions of other cars on the road while planning their route and attending to road signs and traffic lights. In order to do these tasks, humans must have cognitive mechanisms for storing and maintaining a consistent mental representation of the environment as it changes. These mechanisms are referred to as visual-spatial working memory (VSWM).

Our research uses several experimental procedures to understand how information is stored and updated in VSWM.

As with other projects in this lab, our understanding of VSWM is inspired by careful data-analysis and computational modeling using the EPIC architecture.

For more information:

  • Fencsik, D. (2003). Representation and Processing of Objects and Object Features in Visual Working Memory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

  • Fencsik, D. E., Seymour, T. L., Mueller, S. T., Kieras, D. E., & Meyer, D. E. (2002). Representation, retention, and recognition of information in visual working memory. Poster Presented at the 43nd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Kansas City, MO, November 21-24.

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