Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Another Fascinating Feature of our Working memory

Aug 09, 2019 05:35 AM EDT

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Our working memory has been one of the main topics that scientists always explore. It is responsible for storing and processing information that we gained in a short period of time. However, some processes involve are still a mystery and so new innovations are very important. A study led by Steven Luck and Edward Vogel, found that it is possible for it to retain information about 4 colors or orientations in visual working memory at one time. The change in quantity and complexity of objects features do not contribute to the storage capacity of visual working memory yet previous studies have showed its ability to store information independently.

A new study by a team of researchers in cognitive psychology at HSE University, which is composed of Yuri Markov, Natalia Tiurina and Igor Utochkin. The team focused on the processes of visual perception. Their study showed that the working memory, independently stores and processes colors and orientations of objects. Their study showed that it is easier for people to remember the mentioned features when it is under the same single object. Remembering and understanding of one graph which possesses the same parameters are tend to be easier for a person than remembering two different graphs which the two parameters are shown separately.

"In this study, we wanted to learn how information is stored in working memory, in particular, whether there are separate shelves for storing color and information about the orientation of an object. We wanted to see how this storage manifests itself, firstly, when the color and orientation belong to one object, and secondly, when they belong to different objects," explained Yury, research assistant at the Laboratory for Cognitive Research at HSE.

Their research involved participants that were asked to memorize and recall the orientation and color of objects. It is also composed of three experiments, the first one includes the colors and features of one object (colored triangle). In the second step, the features were pertained to various objects (colored circle and white triangle). The last step, the features pertained to different objects, however, they are superimposed into one another (colored circle over white triangle). In all the three experiments, the subjects were presented various sets of objects.

Their result showed that the subjects have a hard time in recalling the colors of circles and orientation of triangles which means they cannot recall both features of one object, according to Medical Express

"These results suggest that working memory is most likely structured hierarchically: objects are stored at one level, while their features are stored at a different level. This makes memorizing information pertaining to a single object easier," said Yury.

Reference: National research University Higher School of Economics, Working memory is structured hierarchically, retrieved from 

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