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Working memory and individual differences in the encoding of vertical, horizontal and diagonal symmetry

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Publication details

JournalActa psychologica
DatePublished - Sep 2012
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)122-132
Original languageEnglish


Previous studies, using a modified version of the sequential Corsi block task to examine the impact of symmetry on visuospatial memory, showed an advantage of vertical symmetry over non-symmetrical sequences, but no effect of horizontal or diagonal symmetry. The present four experiments investigated the mechanisms underlying the encoding of vertical, horizontal and diagonal configurations using simultaneous presentation and a dual-task paradigm. Results indicated that the recall of vertically symmetric arrays was always better than that of all other patterns and was not influenced by any of the concurrent tasks. Performance with horizontally or diagonally symmetrical patterns differed, with high performing participants showing little effect of concurrent tasks, while low performers were disrupted by concurrent visuospatial and executive tasks. A verbal interference had no effect on either group. Implications for processes involved in the encoding of symmetry are discussed, together with the crucial importance of individual differences. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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