Interrupted visual searches reveal volatile search memory

Y. Jeremy Shen, Yuhong V. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study investigated memory from interrupted visual searches. Participants conducted a change detection search task on polygons overlaid on scenes. Search was interrupted by various disruptions, including unfilled delay, passive viewing of other scenes, and additional search on new displays. Results showed that performance was unaffected by short intervals of unfilled delay or passive viewing, but it was impaired by additional search tasks. Across delays, memory for the spatial layout of the polygons was retained for future use, but memory for polygon shapes, background scene, and absolute polygon locations was not. The authors suggest that spatial memory aids interrupted visual searches, but the use of this memory is easily disrupted by additional searches. PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1220
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Change detection
  • Disruptions
  • Interrupted searches
  • Spatial memory
  • Spatial organization
  • Visual attention and memory
  • Visual search

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