The extrastriate symmetry response is robust to variation in visual memory load

Derpsch, Yiovanna, Rampone, Giulia ORCID: 0000-0002-2710-688X, Piovesan, Andrea, Bertamini, Marco ORCID: 0000-0001-8617-6864 and Makin, Alexis DJ ORCID: 0000-0002-4490-7400
(2021) The extrastriate symmetry response is robust to variation in visual memory load. PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY, 58 (12). e13941-.

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An Event Related Potential response to visual symmetry, known as the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN), is generated whether symmetry is task relevant or not, and whether symmetry is attended or not. However, no study has yet examined interference from concurrent memory tasks. To answer this fundamental question, we investigated whether the SPN is robust to variation in Visual Working Memory (VWM) load. In Experiment 1 (N = 24), each trial involved a sample display, a probe and a test display. Sample and test displays contained either four colors or four black shapes, and the probe was either a symmetrical or random pattern. We compared a memory task and a passive viewing task. In the memory task, participants held color or shape information in VWM when the probe was presented. In the passive viewing task, there were no memory demands. Contrary to our predictions, there was no evidence that VWM interfered with the symmetry response. Instead, there was a general SPN enhancement during both color and shape memory tasks compared to passive viewing. In Experiment 2 (N = 24), we used symmetrical patterns themselves as sample and test to maximize interference. Again, the SPN was enhanced in the memory task compared to passive viewing. We conclude that the visual symmetry response is not impaired by concurrent VWM tasks, even when these tasks involve remembering symmetry itself. It seems that the SPN is not only attention-proof, but also memory-proof. This adds to evidence that symmetry perception is robust and automatic.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: EEG, memory, sustained posterior negativity, symmetry, visual working memory
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 15:32
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:27
DOI: 10.1111/psyp.13941
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