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Something from (almost) nothing: Buildup of object memory from forgettable single fixations

Endress, A. & Potter, M. (2014). Something from (almost) nothing: Buildup of object memory from forgettable single fixations. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 76(8), pp. 2413-2423. doi: 10.3758/s13414-014-0706-3


We can recognize thousands of individual objects in scores of familiar settings, and yet we see most of them only through occasional glances that are quickly forgotten. How do we come to recognize any of these objects? Here, we show that when objects are presented intermittently for durations of single fixations, the originally fleeting memories become gradually stabilized, such that, after just eight separated fixations, recognition memory after half an hour is as good as during an immediate memory test. However, with still shorter presentation durations, memories take more exposures to stabilize. Our results thus suggest that repeated glances suffice to remember the objects of our environment.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: Memory, Long-term memory, Memory, Visual working and short-term memory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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