Remember some or remember all? Ageing and strategy effects in visual working memory

Amy Atkinson, Alan David Baddeley, Richard J. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research (Bengson & Luck, 2015) has indicated that visual working memory capacity for unidimensional items might be boosted by focusing on all presented items, as opposed to a subset of them. However, it is not clear whether the same outcomes would be observed if more complex items were used which require feature binding, a potentially more demanding task. The current experiments therefore examined the effects of encoding strategy using multidimensional items in tasks that required feature binding. Effects were explored across a range of different age groups (Experiment 1) and task conditions (Experiment 2). In both experiments, participants performed significantly better when focusing on a subset of items, regardless of age or methodological variations, suggesting this is the optimal strategy to employ when several multidimensional items are presented and binding is required. Implications for task interpretation and visual working memory function are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Early online date16 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Aug 2017

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  • visual working memory
  • strategy/strategies
  • encoding
  • binding
  • ageing/aging

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