Effects of spatial configurations on the resolution of spatial working memory

Mutluturk A., Boduroglu A.

Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol.76, no.8, pp.2276-2285, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 76 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.3758/s13414-014-0713-4
  • Journal Name: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2276-2285
  • Keywords: Configurations, Representation resolution, Spatial representations, Ensemble representations
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Recent research demonstrated that people represent spatial information configurally and preservation of configural cues at retrieval helps memory for spatial locations (Boduroğlu & Shah, Memory & Cognition, 37(8), 1120–1131 2009; Jiang, Olson, & Chun, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26(3), 683–702 2000). The present study investigated the effects of spatial configurations on the resolution of individual location representations. In an open-ended task, participants first studied a set of object locations (three and five locations). Then, in a test display where available configural cues were manipulated, participants were asked to determine the original location of a target object whose color was auditorially cued. The difference between the reported location and the original location was taken as a measure of spatial resolution. In three experiments, we consistently observed that the resolution of spatial representations was facilitated by the preservation of spatial configurations at retrieval. We argue that participants may be using available configural cues in conjunction with the summary representation (e.g., centroid) of the original display in the computation of target locations.