Research on visual working memory (VWM) suggests a capacity limit of three to four objects (Luck & Vogel, 1997), but recent studies on the fidelity of VWM capacity for objects indicates that informational bandwidth, which can vary with factors like complexity and amenability to perceptual grouping, can interact with this capacity (Brady, Konkle & Alvarez, 2011). For example, individual features can be grouped into objects for an added benefit in VWM capacity (Xu, 2002). Along these lines, the Gestalt principles of proximity and connectedness have been shown to benefit VWM, although they do not influence capacity equally (Xu 2006; Woodman, Vecera & Luck, 2003). Closure, which has not been investigated for its influence in VWM capacity, is similar to connectedness and proximity as it promotes the perception of a coherent object without physical connections. In the current experiment, we evaluated whether closure produces similar or greater VWM capacity advantages compared to proximity by having participants engage in a change detection task. Four L-shaped features were grouped in tilted clusters to either form an object (closure condition) or not (no-object condition), with a set size of two (8 L features), four (16 L features), or six clusters (24 L features). Following a brief mask (1000 ms), the orientation of one cluster was changed (tilted 25 or -25 degrees) on half the trials. Our results indicate that there was no difference in accuracy or reaction time for the perceptual grouping conditions of closure/no-object, although we did find a main effect for set size and change conditions. Overall, it seems that grouping by closure provides no further advantages to VWM capacity than proximity; however, more experiments need to be conducted to solidify the findings of the current experiment.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Orlando (Main) Campus
Neira, Sofia, "Perceptual Grouping by Closure in Visual Working Memory" (2016). Honors in the Major Theses. 38.