Macquarie University
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New perspectives on iconic memory

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:37 authored by Jasmina Vrankovic
The early stages of the human memory system for visual information are most commonly postulated to consist of iconic memory (a short-lived store with a high capacity) and visual short-term memory (a longer lasting store with a limited capacity). In addition to rapid registration of visual information, it has also been suggested that there is rapid registration of higher-level or semantic information about visual stimuli. However, the relationship between rapid registration of visual and semantic information across the early stages of memory requires further investigation. This thesis reports three empirical studies that investigated the nature of visual and semantic representations in the early stages of memory. The first study used a partial-report task with pictures of objects to investigate the nature of visual and semantic information accessible in the early stages of memory and how this information persists over time. The second study explored the effects of visual interference on access to early visual and semantic representations. The third study investigated the nature of memory representations across several early stages of memory in a change detection task. Memory performance indicated that visual and semantic representations could be accessed rapidly. Visual representations were initially more accessible than semantic representations but they were also more susceptible to decay. Visual representations were more susceptible than semantic representations to interference from subsequent visual information. Change detection was facilitated by visual and semantic cues and it deteriorated gradually as cues were delayed. The findings from these studies were used to evaluate existing accounts of iconic memory and the role of early stages of visual memory in rapid registration of new information.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. General introduction -- Chapter 2. Rapid access to visual and semantic representations in iconic memory tasks -- Chapter 3. Effects of masking on access to visual and semantic representations over time -- Chapter 4. Visual and semantic representations during early stages of memory -- Chapter 5. General discussion -- Appendix.


"Department of Psychology, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia" -- title page Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MClinPsych/PhD


MClinPsych/PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Veronika Coltheart

Additional Supervisor 1

Nic Badcock

Additional Supervisor 2

Max Coltheart


Copyright Jasmina Vrankovic 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (vii, 229 pages) colour illustrations

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