Journal article

An Information Capacity Limitation of Visual Short-Term Memory

David K Sewell, Simon D Lilburn, Philip L Smith

Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance | AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC | Published : 2014


Research suggests that visual short-term memory (VSTM) has both an item capacity, of around 4 items, and an information capacity. We characterize the information capacity limits of VSTM using a task in which observers discriminated the orientation of a single probed item in displays consisting of 1, 2, 3, or 4 orthogonally oriented Gabor patch stimuli that were presented in noise for 50 ms, 100 ms, 150 ms, or 200 ms. The observed capacity limitations are well described by a sample-size model, which predicts invariance of ∑(i)(d'(i))² for displays of different sizes and linearity of (d'(i))² for displays of different durations. Performance was the same for simultaneous and sequentially presen..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by Discovery Early Career Award

Funding Acknowledgements

The research in this article was supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Grants DP110103406 and DP140102970 to Philip L. Smith, and Discovery Early Career Award DE140100772 to David K. Sewell, and an Australian Postgraduate Award to Simon D. Lilburn. We thank Ed Vogel and Chris Donkin for their comments on a previous version of this article.