Visuospatial Bootstrapping: When Visuospatial and Verbal Memory Work Together
Allen, Richard J.
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Visuospatial Bootstrapping is the name given to a phenomenon whereby performance on visually presented verbal serial recall tasks is better if stimuli are presented in a spatially distributed array, instead of sequentially in the middle of a screen. However, the display has to be a familiar one - when random displays are used there is no memory benefit. This phenomenon implies the existence of channels of communication between cognitive systems involved in storing short term memory for verbal and visual information, alongside connections to and from knowledge held in long term memory. Bootstrapping is a robust, replicable phenomenon that requires to be incorporated in theories of working memory and of how working memory interacts with long term memory. This article provides an overview of bootstrapping, contextualises it within research on interactions between long term knowledge and short term memory, and addresses how it can help inform current working memory theory.