Video_5_Sensory Memory Is Allocated Exclusively to the Current Event-Segment.WMV (145.6 kB)

Video_5_Sensory Memory Is Allocated Exclusively to the Current Event-Segment.WMV

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posted on 07.09.2018 by Srimant P. Tripathy, Haluk Öǧmen

The Atkinson-Shiffrin modal model forms the foundation of our understanding of human memory. It consists of three stores (Sensory Memory (SM), also called iconic memory, Short-Term Memory (STM), and Long-Term Memory (LTM)), each tuned to a different time-scale. Since its inception, the STM and LTM components of the modal model have undergone significant modifications, while SM has remained largely unchanged, representing a large capacity system funneling information into STM. In the laboratory, visual memory is usually tested by presenting a brief static stimulus and, after a delay, asking observers to report some aspect of the stimulus. However, under ecological viewing conditions, our visual system receives a continuous stream of inputs, which is segmented into distinct spatio-temporal segments, called events. Events are further segmented into event-segments. Here we show that SM is not an unspecific general funnel to STM but is allocated exclusively to the current event-segment. We used a Multiple-Object Tracking (MOT) paradigm in which observers were presented with disks moving in different directions, along bi-linear trajectories, i.e., linear trajectories, with a single deviation in direction at the mid-point of each trajectory. The synchronized deviation of all of the trajectories produced an event stimulus consisting of two event-segments. Observers reported the pre-deviation or the post-deviation directions of the trajectories. By analyzing observers' responses in partial- and full-report conditions, we investigated the involvement of SM for the two event-segments. The hallmarks of SM hold only for the current event segment. As the large capacity SM stores only items involved in the current event-segment, the need for event-tagging in SM is eliminated, speeding up processing in active vision. By characterizing how memory systems are interfaced with ecological events, this new model extends the Atkinson-Shiffrin model by specifying how events are stored in the first stage of multi-store memory systems.

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