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  • This article was downloaded by:[University of Southern California] On: 24 August 2007 Access Details: [subscription number 764697168] Publisher: Psychology Press Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Visual Cognition Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713683696

    Accurate identification but no priming and chance recognition memory for pictures in RSVP sequences Suresh Subramaniam; Irving Biederman; Stephen Madigan

    Online Publication Date: 01 April 2000 To cite this Article: Subramaniam, Suresh, Biederman, Irving and Madigan, Stephen (2000) 'Accurate identification but no priming and chance recognition memory for pictures in RSVP sequences', Visual Cognition, 7:4, 511 - 535 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/135062800394630 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/135062800394630

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    Accurate identification but no priming and chance recognition memory for pictures in RSVP sequences

    Suresh Subramaniam, Irving Biederman, and Stephen Madigan University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

    In 1969, Potter and Levy reported that recognition memory of accurately per- ceived RSVP pictures was extremely low, an effect that they attributed to disrup- tion of memory consolidation. Here we report that the repetition of an RSVP picture (72–126 msec/picture) up to 31 times prior to when it became a target had no effect on identification accuracy. At these rates, forced-choice recognition memory was at chance. Single presentations of the pictures outside of the RSVP sequences readily resulted in substantial priming of their identification within the sequences. We offer a neural interpretation of Potter and Levy’s explanation, as well as contemporary two-stage accounts of RSVP memory and attentional phe- nomena, based on the recent finding (Tovee & Rolls, 1995) that most of the infor- mation in inferior temporal cells is conveyed in the first 50msec of firing but the cells continue their activity for an additional 350msec. The additional activity, by our account, is required for memory and it is this activity that may be disrupted by attention to the next image during RSVP presentations. The critical factor for priming, if not memory in general, may be attention to the stimulus for a few hun- dred milliseconds beyond that required for its identification . Single-trial presen- tations thus manifest robust memory and priming effects—even when the stimulus cannot be identified—whereas RSVP conditions in which the stimulus can be identified result in poor memory.

    Most of us have the subjective feeling that if we can see a picture clearly then we will be able to remember it. Experimental evidence seems to bear this out. After viewing thousands of slides of scenes, each for only a few seconds, recog- nition memory (against reasonably dissimilar distractors) is typically found to

    Correspondence should be addressed to Professor I. Biederman, Hedco Neuroscience Build- ing, MC2520, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2520, USA. Email: bieder@usc.edu

    We thank Kimron Shapiro, Molly C. Potter, Christof Koch, Francis Crick, and several anony- mous reviewers for their advice, criticisms, and suggestions. This research was supported by the US Army Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate (NVESD), ARO grant No. DAAH04- 94-G-0065.

    Ó 2000 Psychology Press Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/pp/13506285.html

    VISUAL COGNITION, 2000, 7 (4), 511–535

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    be greater than 90% (Nickerson, 1965; Shepard, 1967; Standing, 1973; Stand- ing, Conezio, & Haber, 1970).

    Other than employing highly similar distractors, what manipulation could substantially degrade recognition memory for accurately identified pictures? A number of researchers, using a variety of methods, have shown that reducing the effective stimulus duration (or stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA, between one picture and the next) results in substantial decrements in recognition mem- ory performance despite reasonably high identification accuracy at those same durations (Loftus & Ginn, 1984; Loftus & Kallman, 1979; Paivio & Csapo, 1971; Potter, 1976; Potter & Levy, 1969; Shaffer & Shiffrin, 1972). These stud- ies firmly establish that the time to attend to a picture, following that which is sufficient for its identification, is crucial in determining its subsequent accu- racy of recognition.

    The remarkable dissociation between identification 1

    and recognition mem- ory was discovered by M. C. Potter and her associates three decades ago (Pot- ter, 1976; Potter & Levy, 1969). She showed participants a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) sequence of 16 pictures at various exposure durations ranging from 113 to 333msec per picture. Target detection at 113msec, with a verbally specified target, was reasonably high (64%). However, after viewing RSVP sequences at these rates, old–new recognition memory judgements aver- aged only 11% after correction for guessing. Intraub (1980, 1984) showed that it is possible to obtain higher levels of recognition memory at these brief expo- sure durations, provided the pictures are separated by lengthy ISIs containing a blank field or a repeated picture mask (which becomes ineffective as a conse- quence of the repetitions).

    Why is recognition for briefly presented, though readily identifiable, pic- tures so poor? Potter (1976) hypothesized that when pictures are presented at a rapid rate they may be subject to “conceptual masking”, from subsequent pictures in the sequence, interrupting “memory consolidation”. Presumably, the activity in perceiving and attending to the picture in position N + 1 inter- feres with the activity from the picture in position N. Indeed, a number of researchers have been able to demonstrate conceptual masking, defined as interruption of conceptual processing of a picture by the onset of a subsequent picture with short SOAs, of object pictures under a variety of experimental con- ditions (e.g. Intraub, 1984; Loftus & Ginn, 1984; Loftus, Hanna, & Lester, 1988).

    In the Discussion we will propose a specific neural account of Potter’s sug- gestion based on the finding (Tovee & Rolls, 1995) that most of the information in inferior temporal cells is conveyed in the first 50msec of firing but the cells continue their activity for an additional 350msec. The additional activity, by our account, is required for memory (consolidation) and it is this activity that is disrupted by attention to the next image during RSVP presentations. Attention to the stimulus, even after it is shown and masked, may thus be critical, not only

    512 SUBRAMANIAM, BIEDERMAN, MADIGAN

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    for (explicit) recognition memory but for (implicit) priming as well—even when the stimulus cannot be identified (Bar & Biederman, 1998, 1999). By this account, not only should episodic recognition memory be impeded at fast RSVP rates, but perceptual priming from identified pictures should also be impeded.

    Here we report three experiments assessing memory for RSVP sequences of pictures of common objects. Most studies of RSVP memory have examined a form of explicit memory, episodic recognition, in which participants judge whether an item was presented in the sequence. Would a (presumably) implicit task, identification of the RSVP images themselves, be primed by repetition of pictures in prior sequences when they were non-targets? Experiment I provided a negative answer to this question and Experiment II established, along with controls in Experiment I, that pictures presented at RSVP rates (72–126msec/ image) are capable of being primed if sufficient time for processing the prime is available after its presentation. Experiment III assessed mem