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

Publication authors

Atkinson A; Baddeley A; Allen R


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.
Keywords: visual working memory; strategy/strategies; encoding; binding;