Evidence of episodic storage processing in a visuo-spatial task


Abstract The main objective in this investigation was to determine whether processed information in visuo-spatial tasks is stored episodically, relying on the view that a distinguishing feature of episodic storage is that the episode includes both relevant (target) and irrelevant (distractor) display information. Accordingly, one untested prediction of episodic storage is that if either a target or a distractor event whose identity matches that of an earlier presentation is presented alone, it should nonetheless result in the concurrent retrieval of both events (i.e., 'indirect retrieval' prediction). Two spatial negative priming (SNP) tasks using sequential prime-probe trial pairs, distinguished with respect to the likelihood of a probe trial distractor appearing (i.e., .75[Exp. 1A], .25[Exp. 1B]) were used, where evidence of 'error protection' replaced the spatial negative priming effect as the index of prime distractor representation retrieval. The results revealed that certain target-only probe trial configurations that successfully retrieved prime target representations (i.e., direct retrieval), also showed evidence of the concomitant retrieval of stored distractor representations (i.e., indirect retrieval). This supported the episodic storage of information in visuo-spatial tasks, converging with (Neill, Valdes, Terry, & Gorfein, 1992). On lesser matters, direct retrieval of distractor objects was demonstrated and feature binding was not observed. Key Words: Episodic, Error Protection, Location Tasks

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to the second author.