Effects of working memory load on visual crowding?
Pang, Wei Hao
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Visual crowding refers to the phenomenon in which recognition becomes difficult when objects are cluttered at the peripheral visual field. Many hypotheses have been proposed regarding its underlying mechanisms. This paper broadly categorized them into the following, the Bottom-Up approach and the Top-Down approach. While the bottom-up approach posits that crowding is caused by the cortical neural physiology, the top-down approach posits that attentional processes are the underlying mechanisms. This paper focused on the latter, particularly, the mediating role of attentional distribution on crowding. The attentional distribution was manipulated by loading the working memory (WM). Participants had to memorize strings of either random or similar digits in order to induce a high or low WM load. Following which, they were required to identify the orientation of peripheral targets which were flanked by four other distractors. Accuracy performance was then compared across the two load conditions. Results showed that there was no significant difference in terms of both overall accuracy and their respective PSEs. The null findings, however, are suggested to reflect the presence of confounds, namely the temporal property of attentional distribution and the dissociation between WM’s subsidiary systems. As such, the effects of WM on crowding remains to be tested.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University