Remembering faces and scenes: The mixed-category advantage in visual working memory

Yuhong V Jiang, Roger W. Remington, Anthony Asaad, Hyejin J. Lee, Taylor C. Mikkalson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We examined the mixed-category memory advantage for faces and scenes to determine how domainspecific cortical resources constrain visual working memory. Consistent with previous findings, visual working memory for a display of 2 faces and 2 scenes was better than that for a display of 4 faces or 4 scenes. This pattern was unaffected by manipulations of encoding duration. However, the mixed-category advantage was carried solely by faces: Memory for scenes was not better when scenes were encoded with faces rather than with other scenes. The asymmetry between faces and scenes was found when items were presented simultaneously or sequentially, centrally, or peripherally, and when scenes were drawn from a narrow category. A further experiment showed a mixed-category advantage in memory for faces and bodies, but not in memory for scenes and objects. The results suggest that unique category-specific interactions contribute significantly to the mixed-category advantage in visual working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1411
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Domain specificity
  • Visual working memory


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