Document Detail

Memory for multiple visual ensembles in infancy.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21355663     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The number of individual items that can be maintained in working memory is limited. One solution to this problem is to store representations of ensembles that contain summary information about large numbers of items (e.g., the approximate number or cumulative area of a group of many items). Here we explored the developmental origins of ensemble representations by asking whether infants represent ensembles and, if so, how many at one time. We habituated 9-month-old infants to arrays containing 2, 3, or 4 spatially intermixed colored subsets of dots, then asked whether they detected a numerical change to one of the subsets or to the superset of all dots. Experiment Series 1 showed that infants detected a numerical change to 1 of the subsets when the array contained 2 subsets but not 3 or 4 subsets. Experiment Series 2 showed that infants detected a change to the superset of all dots no matter how many subsets were presented. Experiment 3 showed that infants represented both the approximate number and the cumulative surface area of these ensembles. Our results suggest that infants, like adults (Halberda, Sires, & Feigenson, 2006), can store quantitative information about 2 subsets plus the superset: a total of 3 ensembles. This converges with the known limit on the number of individual objects infants and adults can store and suggests that, throughout development, an ensemble functions much like an individual object for working memory.
Jennifer M Zosh; Justin Halberda; Lisa Feigenson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of experimental psychology. General     Volume:  140     ISSN:  1939-2222     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Psychol Gen     Publication Date:  2011 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-05-03     Completed Date:  2011-09-08     Revised Date:  2014-09-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7502587     Medline TA:  J Exp Psychol Gen     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  141-58     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Child Psychology*
Color Perception*
Concept Formation
Discrimination (Psychology)*
Memory, Short-Term*
Pattern Recognition, Visual*
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