What’s Your Source: Evaluating the Effects of Context in Episodic Memory for Objects in Natural Scenes

Pernille HemmerRutgers University
Kimele PersaudRutgers University
Rachel VenagliaLafayette College
Joseph DeAngelisRutgers University

Abstract

It is well known that the context of a scene can have a strong effect on the identification of objects in the scene (e.g., Biederman, 1972). However, it is unclear what role global versus local context plays on episodic memory for objects. We present results from a series of experiments that evaluate the degree to which the global and local context contributes to memory performance: partial scene context, where global context was partially removed, no-spatial scene context, where the local spatial relationships among objects was distorted, and random context, where the associative relationship among objects was altered. Study time was also manipulated. We compare the findings to memory performance for objects in natural scenes (Hemmer & Steyvers, 2009; Steyvers & Hemmer, 2012). Results show that background context of a scene is important for initial scene interpretation. In addition, associative and spatial context is important for the retention of a larger number of objects in memory.

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