Presentation rate and the representation of briefly glimpsed pictures in memory

J Exp Psychol Hum Learn. 1980 Jan;6(1):1-12.


Four experiments on memory for briefly presented complex pictures showed the following: (a) Pictures shown in a sequence for 110 msec each with a blank 5,890-msec interstimulus interval (ISI) were later recognized almost as well as pictures shown for 6 sec each with no ISI; (b) when the ISI was deleted, recognition memory for the briefly presented pictures dropped almost to chance; (c) however, filling a 5-sec ISI with a to-be-ignored picture that was the same on all trials had little or no effect on memory for the briefly presented pictures; (d) when the time between 110-msec pictures was decreased from 4,890 to 1,390, 620, 385, or 0 msec, the ability to detect that they were mirror reversed in the recognition test decreased more rapidly than did recognition accuracy. Evidently, incidental visuospatial properties of a picture can be encoded for at least 1 sec after a brief presentation unless another to-be-remembered picture is presented during that time.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Retention, Psychology*
  • Reversal Learning
  • Serial Learning