Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Andrew Hollingworth

First Committee Member

James Cremer

Second Committee Member

Eliot Hazeltine

Third Committee Member

Cathleen Moore

Fourth Committee Member

Shaun Vecera


During scene viewing, visual working memory (VWM) is used to retain information from recently attended and fixated objects. In the present study, I examined whether and how people can strategically control the content of VWM during scene viewing, prioritizing task-relevant objects for retention even as the eyes are directed to subsequent objects. Participants viewed a set of real-world objects presented serially within a 3-D rendered scene. One object in the sequence was cued by a tone as to-be-remembered. At the end of the sequence, memory for the visual form of one object was tested. Participants exhibited tight control over the content of VWM, implementing prioritization after the encoding of an object into VWM, protecting that item from subsequent interference. Participants also successfully reallocated protection to subsequent objects, regardless of the duration of prioritization of the original item. Such strategic maintenance of objects in VWM is likely to play an important role in real-world visual behavior, especially when object information must be maintained across shifts of attention and the eyes to other objects (such as when comparing two spatially separated objects).


Visual working memory


v, 99 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 91-99).


Copyright 2009 Ashleigh Monette Richard

Included in

Psychology Commons