Perceptual asymmetries are preserved in short-term memory tasks.

Attention, perception & psychophysics

PubMedID: 19933562

Montaser-Kouhsari L, Carrasco M. Perceptual asymmetries are preserved in short-term memory tasks. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2009;71(8):1782-92.
Visual performance is heterogeneous at isoeccentric locations; it is better on the horizontal than on the vertical meridian and worse at the upper than at the lower region of the vertical meridian (Carrasco, Talgar, & Cameron, 2001; Talgar & Carrasco, 2002). It is unknown whether these performance inhomogeneities are also present in spatial frequency tasks and whether asymmetries present during encoding of visual information also emerge in visual short-term memory (VSTM) tasks. Here, we investigated the similarity of the perceptual and VSTM tasks in spatial frequency discrimination (Experiments 1 and 2) and perceived spatial frequency (Experiments 3 and 4). We found that (1) performance in both simultaneous (perceptual) and delayed (VSTM) spatial frequency discrimination tasks varies as a function of location; it is better along the horizontal than along the vertical meridian; and (2) perceived spatial frequency in both tasks is higher along the horizontal than along the vertical meridian. These results suggest that perceived spatial frequency may mediate performance differences in VSTM tasks across the visual field, implying that the quality with which we encode information affects VSTM.