A Category Adjustment Approach to Memory for Spatial Location in Natural Scenes

Mark P. Holden*, Kim M. Curby, Nora S. Newcombe, Thomas F. Shipley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Memories for spatial locations often show systematic errors toward the central value of the surrounding region. This bias has been explained using a Bayesian model in which fine-grained and categorical information are combined (Huttenlocher, Hedges, & Duncan, 1991). However, experiments testing this model have largely used locations contained in simple geometric shapes. Use of this paradigm raises 2 issues. First, do results generalize to the complex natural world? Second, what types of information might be used to segment complex spaces into constituent categories? Experiment 1 addressed the 1st question by showing a bias toward prototypical values in memory for spatial locations in complex natural scenes. Experiment 2 addressed the 2nd question by manipulating the availability of basic visual cues (using color negatives) or of semantic information about the scene (using inverted images). Error patterns suggest that both perceptual and conceptual information are involved in segmentation. The possible neurological foundations of location memory of this kind are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-604
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


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