3 years ago

Serial dependence is absent at the time of perception but increases in visual working memory

Jerome J. Sun, Daniel P. Bliss, Mark D’Esposito
Recent experiments have shown that visual cognition blends current input with that from the recent past to guide ongoing decision making. This serial dependence appears to exploit the temporal autocorrelation normally present in visual scenes to promote perceptual stability. While this benefit has been assumed, evidence that serial dependence directly alters stimulus perception has been limited. In the present study, we parametrically vary the delay between stimulus and response in a spatial delayed response task to explore the trajectory of serial dependence from the moment of perception into post-perceptual visual working memory. We find that behavioral responses made immediately after viewing a stimulus show evidence of adaptation, but not attractive serial dependence. Only as the memory period lengthens is a blending of past and present information apparent in behavior, reaching its maximum with a delay of six seconds. These results dovetail with other recent findings to bolster the interpretation that serial dependence is a phenomenon of mnemonic rather than perceptual processes. However, even while this pattern of effects in group-averaged data has now been found consistently, we show that the relative strengths of adaptation and serial dependence vary widely across individuals. Finally, we demonstrate that when leading mathematical models of working memory are adjusted to account for these trial-history effects, their fit to behavioral data is substantially improved.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15199-7

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15199-7

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