Research shows that object-location binding errors can occur in VWM indicating a failure to store bound representations rather than mere forgetting (Bays et al., 2009; Pertzov et. al. 2012). Here we investigated how categorical similarity between real-world objects influences the probability of object-location binding errors. Our observers memorized three objects (image set: Konkle et. al. 2010) presented for 3 seconds and located around an invisible circumference. After a 1-second delay they had to (1) locate one of those objects on the circumference according to its original position (localization task), or (2) recognize an old object when paired with a new object (recognition task). On each trial, three encoded objects could be drawn from a same category or different categories, providing two levels of categorical similarity. For the localization task, we used the mixture model (Zhang & Luck, 2008) with swap (Bays et al., 2009) to estimate the probabilities of correct and swapped object-location conjunctions, as well as the precision of localization, and guess rate (locations are forgotten). We found that categorical similarity had no effect on localization precision and guess rate. However, the observers made more swaps when the encoded objects have been drawn from the same category. Importantly, there were no correlations between the probabilities of these binding errors and probabilities of false recognition in the recognition task, which suggests that the binding errors cannot be explained solely by poor memory for objects. Rather, remembering objects and binding them to locations appear to be partially distinct processes. We suggest that categorical similarity impairs an ability to store objects attached to their locations in VWM.
Binocular rivalry is a phenomenon of visual competition in which perception alternates between two monocular images. When two eye’s images only differ in luminance, observers may perceive shininess, a form of rivalry called binocular luster. Does dichoptic information guide attention in visual search? Wolfe and Franzel (1988) reported that rivalry could guide attention only weakly but that luster (shininess) “popped out”, producing very shallow reaction time (RT) × set size functions. In the present study, we have revisited the topic with new and improved stimuli. By using a checkerboard pattern in rivalry experiments, we found that search for rivalry can be more efficient (16msec/item) than standard, rivalrous grating (30 msec/item). The checkerboard may reduce distracting orientation signals that masked the salience of rivalry between simple orthogonal gratings. Lustrous stimuli did not pop-out when potential contrast and luminance artifacts were reduced. However, search efficiency was substantially improved when luster was added to the search target. Both rivalry and luster tasks can produce search asymmetries, as is characteristic of guiding features in search. These results suggest that interocular differences that produce rivalry or luster can guide attention but these effects are relatively weak and can be hidden by other features like luminance and orientation in visual search tasks.
The problem of consciousness is one of the core problems in the contemporary cogni- tive science. Driven by the neuroimaging boom, most researchers look for the neural correlates or signatures of consciousness and awareness in the human brain. However, we believe that the explanatory potential of the cultural-historical activity approach to this problem is far from being exhausted. We propose Cognitive Psychology of Activity research program, or the activity theory-based constructivism as an attempt to account for multiple phenomena of human awareness and attention. This approach relies upon cultural-historical psychology and the concept of mediation by Lev S. Vygotsky, activity theory and the concept of image generation by Alexey N. Leontiev, the physiology of ac- tivity and the metaphor of movement construction by Nikolai A. Bernstein, transferred to the psychology of perception as image construction by a number of Russian researchers in 1960-es, and the understanding of attention as action by evolutionary cognitive psy- chologists of 1980-es. The central concept of our approach is a concept of task, defined by Leontiev as “a goal assigned in specific circumstances”. The goal determines choice and use of available cultural means (“mediators”) consistent with the circumstances or conditions of task performance, which in turn provide for the construction of processing units allowing for more successful (“attentive”) performance and for the awareness of visual stimuli which could otherwise be missed or ignored. The perceptual task accom- plishment is controlled at several levels organized heterarchically, with possible strategic reorganizations of this system demonstrating the constructive nature of human cognition.
This research tests the hypothesis that 3- and 4-year-olds can use characteristics of a social context created by adults to learn new words. One of the strategies that a child can use in multi-party conversations is to decide to whom a message (and a new word) is addressed. The ability to do so may simplify word learning situations by making the learning selective and by reducing the amount of perceived words. In the current experiment we test children's ability to learn a new word from a natural conversation when the communicative context is kept constant and when it is altered by adding a new game partner. We predicted that children will differentially interpret verbal messages containing a new word as addressed to them or to the new person, and this will affect their ability to remember the new word. Children heard a new word in one of two conditions: when a communicative context shared with an adult was kept constant and when it has changed (a new adult joined the conversation). We found that 3-year-olds could learn new words only when the communicative context was constant, but 4-year-olds could learn new words in both conditions. A control condition revealed that these findings cannot be explained by task difficulty.
It was previously shown that the features of individual items retrieved from visual working memory (VWM) are systematically biased towards the mean feature of a sample set (Brady & Alvarez, 2011), suggesting hierarchical encoding in VWM. In our work, we investigated how hierarchical representations are stored over time. Observers were shown four differently oriented triangles for 200 ms and, after 1-, 4-, or 7-second delay, they had to report either one individual orientation, or the average orientation of all triangles, rotating a probe circle. Before set presentations, observers were informed that they had to remember one particular orientation, all four individual orientations, or the average orientation. Using the mixture model (Zhang & Luck, 2008), we estimated a probability of a tested representation being in VWM and its precision, as well as a systematic bias that would indicate hierarchical encoding. We found a strong bias towards the mean in the “remember four” condition, which provides evidence for hierarchical encoding in VWM. Our main result was the absence of significant changes in retaining the elements of a hierarchical representation (the mean and individual features). This supports an idea that hierarchical representations are related to encoding, rather than storing in VWM. Both fidelity and the probability of an item being in memory decrease over time. It supports "Sudden Death" and "Gradual Decay" accounts for storing hierarchical representations.
The article presents the development of the database ENRuN that contains normative emotional ratings of Russian nouns. For 387 nouns, their relatedness to five emotional categories – happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust – was rated. High reliability of the collected data has been shown; sex differences and interrelations among categories have been analyzed. For each word by each emotional category, the database provides a mean score, standard deviation, minimum and maximum scores, as well as word length in letters and syllables and word frequency. The database ENRuN can be used in the studies of emotional stimulus processing, for emotion induction in the laboratory setting, analysis of text emotional tone, and in other domains of the experimental psychology of emotion. The database is accessible free online (DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.33177.62566).