Object representations in visual memory: Evidence from visual illusions

Asaf Ben-Shalom, Tzvi Ganel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Human visual memory is considered to contain different levels of object representations. Representations in visual working memory (VWM) are thought to contain relatively elaborated information about object structure. Conversely, representations in iconic memory are thought to be more perceptual in nature. In four experiments, we tested the effects of two different categories of visual illusions on representations in VWM and in iconic memory. Unlike VWM that was affected by both types of illusions, iconic memory was immune to the effects of within-object contextual illusions and was affected only by illusions driven by between-objects contextual properties. These results show that iconic and visual working memory contain dissociable representations of object shape. These findings suggest that the global properties of the visual scene are processed prior to the processing of specific elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Iconic Memory
  • Visual Illusions
  • Visual Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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