Pictorial and conceptual representation of glimpsed pictures

Mary C. Potter, Adrian Staub, Daniel H. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Pictures seen in a rapid sequence are remembered briefly, but most are forgotten within a few seconds (M. C. Potter, A. Staub, J. Rado, & D. H. O'Connor, 2002). The authors investigated the pictorial and conceptual components of this fleeting memory by presenting 5 pictured scenes and immediately testing recognition of verbal titles (e.g., people at a table) or recognition of the pictures themselves. Recognition declined during testing, but initial performance was higher and the decline steeper when pictures were tested. A final experiment included test decoy pictures that were conceptually similar to but visually distinct from the original pictures. Yeses to decoys were higher than yeses to other distractors. Fleeting memory for glimpsed pictures has a strong conceptual component (conceptual short-term memory), but there is additional highly volatile pictorial memory (pictorial short-term memory) that is not tapped by a gist title or decoy picture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-489
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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