Active processing in visuo-spatial working memory

Vecchi, Tomaso and Richardson, John T. E. (2000). Active processing in visuo-spatial working memory. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 19(1) pp. 3–31.


The findings of recent research have motivated a theoretical distinction between active and passive components of visuo-spatial working memory, but investigation of the active component has been inhibited by the absence of appropriate experimental tasks. We propose a new experimental procedure involving the mental reconstruction of pictures of objects from fragmented pieces. The results allow one to identify variables affecting the active elaboration of visuo-spatial material, and they support a capacity theory of active visuo-spatial processing. The roles of mental rotation, visual complexity, and processing load are evaluated. Furthermore, this procedure is proposed as a tool to investigate the architecture of visuo-spatial working memory and the relationship between peripheral modality-specific and central amodal processes.

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