Sensory Memory Strategy Test (Extended)
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. However, there is a range of imagery abilities in the normal population, and even people who have weak imagery can detect changes. This has led to the hypothesis 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 task 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 imagery abilities, using a range of effective strategies. Here I am interested to find out your strategy for performing this task.
The task (GIF below):
The GIF begins with a 5-second countdown. Every new trial begins with a green fixation cross. You then will see a "grating" (a circle with lines going through it) for 1 second, followed by a checkerboard pattern for 1 second (this "masks" or gets rid of afterimages of the grating). After that, the screen will turn black. Try to keep the first 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 during this time. 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. This grating will always be rotated *slightly* clockwise or counterclockwise compared to the first grating (at most by 10 degrees rotation). 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 (age, gender) and perform the short imagery exercise provided.
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.
There will be a questionnaire after the main task. The entire experiment, with demographics, practice, main task, and questionnaire, should take no more than 20 minutes.
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