A familiar pattern? Semantic memory contributes to the enhancement of visuo-spatial memories

Riby, Leigh and Orme, Elizabeth (2012) A familiar pattern? Semantic memory contributes to the enhancement of visuo-spatial memories. Brain and Cognition, 81 (2). pp. 215-222. ISSN 0278-2626

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2012.10.011


In this study we quantify for the first time electrophysiological components associated with incorporating long-term semantic knowledge with visuo-spatial information using two variants of a traditional matrix patterns task. Results indicated that the matrix task with greater semantic content was associated with enhanced accuracy and RTs in a change-detection paradigm; this was also associated with increased P300 and N400 components as well as a sustained negative slow wave (NSW). In contrast, processing of the low semantic stimuli was associated with an increased N200 and a reduction in the P300. These findings suggest that semantic content can aid in reducing early visual processing of information and subsequent memory load by unitizing complex patterns into familiar forms. The N400/NSW may be associated with the requirements for maintaining visuo-spatial information about semantic forms such as orientation and relative location. Evidence for individual differences in semantic elaboration strategies used by participants is also discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ERPs, working memory, visual, semantic, unitization
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Linda Barlow
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2012 12:57
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 16:29
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/10860

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