Binding in short-term visual memory

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2002 Mar;131(1):48-64. doi: 10.1037//0096-3445.131.1.48.


The integration of complex information in working memory, and its effect on capacity, shape the limits of conscious cognition. The literature conflicts on whether short-term visual memory represents information as integrated objects. A change-detection paradigm using objects defined by color with location or shape was used to investigate binding in short-term visual memory. Results showed that features from the same dimension compete for capacity, whereas features from different dimensions can be stored in parallel. Binding between these features can occur, but focused attention is required to create and maintain the binding over time, and this integrated format is vulnerable to interference. In the proposed model, working memory capacity is limited both by the independent capacity of simple feature stores and by demands on attention networks that integrate this distributed information into complex but unified thought objects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention*
  • Cognition*
  • Color Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Models, Psychological
  • New Jersey
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time
  • Space Perception