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Visual short-term memory

People gathered around computer screens

Our work on visual short-term memory has shown that it declines with age. We are exploring whether visual short-term memory performance can serve as a biomarker for detection of early cognitive decline linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Visual short-term memory is a transient memory system that stores visual information active for a few seconds. This memory system is vital for performing ongoing cognitive tasks that underpin our everyday activities, such as scene perception and visual search.

The key aspect of visual short-term memory system that we are interested in exploring is ‘memory binding’, which is a cognitive process by which different features of an object (such as colour, shape and name) are linked together in our memory.

Brain areas that support memory binding are also affected early during the course of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is very little evidence linking visual short-term memory binding and early cognitive decline. Pilot studies on subjects with early dementia suggest that visual short-term memory deteriorates significantly.

Our psychophysics lab – which is equipped with a state-of-the-art eye tracking device, EyeLink 1000 – is used for for conducting visual short-term memory experiments.

This research is supported by a VC Studentship and ARU Support Fund.

Professor Shahina Pardhan
Dr Raju Sapkota
Monika McAtarsney-Kovacs
Dr Ian van der Linde

Recent publications

Sapkota, R. P., van der Linde, I., Pardhan, S., 2020. How does aging influence object-location and name-location binding during a visual short-term memory task? Aging and Mental Health, 24(1), pp. 63-72. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1515887

Sapkota, R. P., van der Linde, I., Lamichhane, N., Upadhyaya, T., Pardhan, S., 2017. Patients with mild cognitive impairment show lower visual short-term memory performance in feature binding tasks. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders Extra, 7(1), pp. 74-86. doi: 10.1159/000455831

Sapkota, R. P., Pardhan, S., van der Linde, I. 2016. Spatiotemporal proximity effects in visual short-term memory examined by target-nontarget analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(8), pp. 1304-1315. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000238

Sapkota, R. P., Pardhan, S., van der Linde, I. 2015. Change Detection in Visual Short-Term Memory: The Relative Impact of Pairwise Switches and Identity Substitutions. Experimental Psychology, 62(4), pp. 232-239. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000294

Sapkota, R. P., van der Linde, I., Pardhan, S., 2014. How does aging affect the types of error made in a visual short-term memory 'object-recall' task? Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6, pp. 346. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00346