Sensory memory persistence

Nelson Cowan

in Attention and Memory

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780195119107
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870097 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Psychology Series

 Sensory memory persistence

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This chapter considers the role of sensory memory in current cognitive psychology. Its distinguishing features are discussed, as well as the types of sensory memory and their durations, uses, and neural representations. A view is proposed that differs markedly from the standard view of sensory memory, in which the duration of sensory memory (its persistence) differs dramatically between sensory modalities. Instead, it is proposed that sensory memory in every modality has two phases: a brief phase lasting several hundred milliseconds that serves as a vivid afterimage as perceptual encoding continues, and a second phase that is just the activation of sensory features in long-term memory. This activation is in principle similar to activation of non-sensory features.

Keywords: sensory memory duration; modalities; neural representations; sensory memory phases; persistence; sensory modalities

Chapter.  12818 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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