Intrinsic and extrinsic effects on image memorability

Vision Res. 2015 Nov;116(Pt B):165-78. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2015.03.005. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


Previous studies have identified that images carry the attribute of memorability, a predictive value of whether a novel image will be later remembered or forgotten. Here we investigate the interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect image memorability. First, we find that intrinsic differences in memorability exist at a finer-grained scale than previously documented. Second, we test two extrinsic factors: image context and observer behavior. Building on prior findings that images that are distinct with respect to their context are better remembered, we propose an information-theoretic model of image distinctiveness. Our model can automatically predict how changes in context change the memorability of natural images. In addition to context, we study a second extrinsic factor: where an observer looks while memorizing an image. It turns out that eye movements provide additional information that can predict whether or not an image will be remembered, on a trial-by-trial basis. Together, by considering both intrinsic and extrinsic effects on memorability, we arrive at a more complete and fine-grained model of image memorability than previously available.

Keywords: Context; Eye movements; Fine-grained categories; Image memorability; Scene dataset; Visual distinctiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Long-Term / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Young Adult