Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Recognition of Dance-Like Actions: Memory for Static Posture or Dynamic Movement?

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Recognition of Dance-Like Actions: Memory for Static Posture or Dynamic Movement?

Article excerpt

Published online: 20 February 2014

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Dance-like actions are complex visual stimuli involving multiple changes in body posture across time and space. Visual perception research has demonstrated a difference between the processing of dynamic body movement and the processing of static body posture. Yet, it is unclear whether this processing dissociation continues during the retention of body movement and body form in visual working memory (VWM). When observing a dance-like action, it is likely that static snapshot images of body posture will be retained alongside dynamic images of the complete motion. Therefore, we hypothesized that, as in perception, posture and movement would differ in VWM. Additionally, if body posture and body movement are separable in VWM, as form- and motion-based items, respectively, then differential interference from intervening form and motion tasks should occur during recognition. In two experiments, we examined these hypotheses. In Experiment 1, the recognition of postures and movements was tested in conditions in which the formats of the study and test stimuli matched (movement-study to movement-test, posture-study to posture-test) or mismatched (movement-study to posture-test, posture-study to movement-test). In Experiment 2, the recognition of postures and movements was compared after intervening form and motion tasks. These results indicated that (1) the recognition of body movement based only on posture is possible, but it is significantly poorer than recognition based on the entire movement stimulus, and (2) form-based interference does not impair memory for movements, although motion-based interference does. We concluded that, whereas static posture information is encoded during the observation of dance-like actions, body movement and body posture differ in VWM.

Keywords Visual memory · Dance · Visual perception · Form · Motion

As dancers turn and leap across the stage, they move in and out of multiple body configurations. An observer of this body move- ment will simultaneously process both form-based detail of body shape and motion-based detail of the temporal order in which these shapes appear. Visual perception research has demonstrat- ed that such processing of body form and of body motion differs. That is, although an action consists of a sequence of multiple body postures, action perception differs from posture perception. In the present article, we question whether a similar dissociation between actions and postures occurs in visual memory. To date, this question has not been addressed. In part, this may be because visual memory research has focused primarily on static, nonbi- ological stimuli, but also because research on human action has typically been directed toward perception and production rather than memory. The following sections first review the literature considering visual memory for static and dynamic stimuli, and then review the literature considering visual perception of human action and form. Together, these research areas inform two experiments comparing memory for dynamic actions and static postures alone (Exp. 1) and in the context of other dynamic and static visual tasks (Exp. 2). We concluded that, as in perception, action and postures differ in visual memory, relying on partially dissociable networks.

Working memory: Static and dynamic processing?

Working memory (WM) is defined as the active portion of the long-term neural network within which stimuli are temporarily maintained and manipulated for retrieval (Oberauer, 2009). Re- cent models of WM have built on the current understandings of visual perception (Jonides et al., 2008), visual attention (Oberauer & Bialkova, 2009), and long-term memory (Cowan et al., 2005; Zimmer, 2008). These models diverge from the concept of WM as containing modality-specific stores, toward the conceptualization of WM as an extension of the perceptual process (Cowan, 2010; Jones, Hughes, & Macken, 2006; Oberauer, 2009; Zimmer, 2008). …

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