Dynamic visual noise reduces confidence in short-term memory for visual information.

Research paper by Eva E Kemps, Jackie J Andrade

Indexed on: 29 Nov '11Published on: 29 Nov '11Published in: Cognitive Processing


Previous research has shown effects of the visual interference technique, dynamic visual noise (DVN), on visual imagery, but not on visual short-term memory, unless retention of precise visual detail is required. This study tested the prediction that DVN does also affect retention of gross visual information, specifically by reducing confidence. Participants performed a matrix pattern memory task with three retention interval interference conditions (DVN, static visual noise and no interference control) that varied from trial to trial. At recall, participants indicated whether or not they were sure of their responses. As in previous research, DVN did not impair recall accuracy or latency on the task, but it did reduce recall confidence relative to static visual noise and no interference. We conclude that DVN does distort visual representations in short-term memory, but standard coarse-grained recall measures are insensitive to these distortions.