Do you see that red apple? The impact of verbal descriptions for memory of visual details

  • Tue 20 Mar 18

    16:00 - 17:00

  • Colchester Campus

    1.702 - Department of Psychology

  • Event speaker

    Alessandra Souza

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychology, Department of

We are confronted in a daily basis with many sorts of visual stimulation. In many circumstances, these stimuli are accompanied by verbal descriptions or labels, as for instance when someone says “Look at that red apple”. One question that remains under-investigated is how these descriptions/labels affect the storage of visual details in memory. In other words, does the label “red apple” affect our memory of the specific color hues of the apple, or of the particular shape of the apple we saw? Storage of visual inputs is necessary to accomplish many immediate task goals (e.g., safely cross a street; remember who we were just talking to; remember which items we put in our shopping basket). Working memory (WM) is the memory system that allows us to keep information in mind for real-time thinking and action. So far, most studies have investigated the capacity to keep visual and verbal information in WM in isolation, but hardly how the two types of information are combined to more effectively guide action. In this talk, I will outline hypotheses about the effects of verbal labeling on the storage of precise visual details in WM, and whether labeling has differential impact over the short-term and the long-term (i.e., in episodic long-term memory).