When recalling an object that you have previously seen how do the different features location, orientation, and color integrate in memory? To understand the relations between individual features of visual mental representations it is essential to extend the existing research to a 3D virtual reality approach, which allows to represent space in a more natural way than 2D computer-based experiments.

In this project we aim to examine featural properties of visual mental representations. Given that we are interested not only in color representation but specifically in location and orientation representation, we aim to develop a virtual reality (VR) environment to assess the fidelity of visual mental representations. Using VR, it is possible to exactly track the position, orientation, and color of objects. Participants will be presented with different objects at different positions in the virtual world. After the encoding phase, participants will execute the recall phase. In this phase, they will be presented with the previously encoded objects (random position, orientation, and color) and they will have to retrieve the exact position, orientation, and color. The key dependent variable is recall error, which is the difference between the original position, orientation, color of the objects at encoding and the estimated position, orientation, color of the objects at recall. Continuous measures are ideally suited to investigate the fidelity of detailed visual mental representations. This study will contribute to the understanding of how objects are represented in visual long-term memory.

Related work

In this study we use our recently developed database of 3D virtual objects

  • Popic, D., Pacozzi S. G., & Martarelli, C. S. (2020). Database of virtual objects to be used in psychological research. PLOS ONE, 15(9): e0238041.

The related publication can be found here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238041

Figure: View in VR (recall phase). Participants have to position, orient, and color the previously seen object.

Dauer des Projekts

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022


Prof. Dr. Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr. Corinna Martarelli Associate professor
Dr. Rebecca Ovalle
Dr. Rebecca Ovalle Post-doc research associate
BA Dejan Popic
BA Dejan Popic Virtual reality designer
Prof. Dr. Nicolas Rothen
Prof. Dr. Nicolas Rothen Associate professor