Memory for forms: Common memory formats for verbal and visual stimulus presentations

Gregory L. Murphy, J. Wesley Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous experiments have attempted to show that people use a visuospatial representation to remember pictures and objects by demonstrating that perceptual variables affect memory perlormance. One problem with such experiments is that perceptual differences in the stimuli could cause differences in a verbal representation as well (i.e., could lead to different descriptions). The three experiments reported here use as stimuli a set of geometric forms designed to have identical verbal descriptions, yet to differ in visual complexity. Results showed that recall differences could be predicted on the basis of visual complexity whether' the stimuli were described or presented visually. Furthermore, this result cannot be attributed to a response bias in reproducing the stimuli. Various models of memory for forms are considered in the light of these results, as well as the "tacit knowledge" explanation for mental imagery phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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