Sensory Memory Strategy Test
Imagine the scenario that a friend of yours touched up an old family photo. Without looking at the original photo, can you notice what has changed? Many people think that to notice a change (especially a very small change), you have to use precise mental visual imagery (VI). However, there is a range of VI abilities in the normal population, and even people who have weak VI can detect changes. This has led to the hypothesis by Pearson and Keogh (2019) that there are individual differences in memory strategies, many of which may not even be remotely sensory (e.g., verbal rehearsal). I will test this hypothesis using a design inspired by Harrison and Tong (2009), where you will be asked to try to hold an image in mind for 4 seconds, followed by a change judgment. I hypothesize that this task may be performed by individuals across the spectrum of VI abilities, using a range of effective strategies. Here I am interested to find out your strategy for performing this task.
The task (pictures below):
You will see a grating for 1 second (see "Original grating" in the Task Design below), followed by a mask for 1 second (so-called because it "masks" or gets rid of afterimages). After that, the screen will turn black. Try to keep the grating in mind as precisely as possible in this time. Sometimes the screen will stay black for 4 seconds, and sometimes there will be a flash of white (see "Blank (black)" and "Blank (white)" in the Task Design below). The flash of white is supposed to disrupt imagery (if you use it), but please try to ignore it.
After 4 seconds, another grating will appear for 1 second (see "Rotated grating" in the Task Design below). This grating will always be rotated *slightly* clockwise or counterclockwise compared to the first grating (at most by 10 degrees rotation -- see Rotation Description below). Your task is to indicate the direction of rotation (clockwise or counterclockwise). The trial is 7 seconds long.
First, read the following consent form and confirm your consent to participate. Then, please fill out a short demographics section (optional: age, gender. required: imagery vividness).
After this, there is an "easy" training section and a "difficult" training section, where you can practice your memory strategy. You may watch the practice sections on a loop for as long as you want, if you need more time to practice your strategy. You may then go on to the main task.
For each section of the practice and main task, you will see a continuous sequence of 8 trials (about 1-minute long). The beginning of a trial is marked by a green cross in the center of the screen. At the end of the sequence (when the "End of sequence" text appears), indicate whether the rotated gratings were mostly rotated clockwise or counterclockwise compared to the original grating. The direction of rotation will be the same on 7/8 trials. There are 6 sections of the main task that get progressively more difficult.
Please make a response regardless of whether you are totally sure of the dominant rotation direction, or making a complete guess. Afterwards, indicate how confident you are in your response. Finally, indicate which strategy you used to (attempt to) see the rotation direction.
The number of clockwise and counterclockwise sections is NOT equal! Please do not try to deduce the direction of rotation based on previous sections.
The entire experiment, with demographics, practice, and main task, should take no more than 15 minutes.
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