Stimulus-specific variability in color working memory with delayed estimation

Gi Yeul Bae, Maria Olkkonen, Sarah R. Allred, Colin Wilson, Jonathan Isaac Flombaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Working memory for color has been the central focus in an ongoing debate concerning the structure and limits of visual working memory. Within this area, the delayed estimation task has played a key role. An implicit assumption in color working memory research generally, and delayed estimation in particular, is that the fidelity of memory does not depend on color value (and, relatedly, that experimental colors have been sampled homogeneously with respect to discriminability). This assumption is reflected in the common practice of collapsing across trials with different target colors when estimating memory precision and other model parameters. Here we investigated whether or not this assumption is secure. To do so, we conducted delayed estimation experiments following standard practice with a memory load of one. We discovered that different target colors evoked response distributions that differed widely in dispersion and that these stimulus-specific response properties were correlated across observers. Subsequent experiments demonstrated that stimulusspecific responses persist under higher memory loads and that at least part of the specificity arises in perception and is eventually propagated to working memory. Posthoc stimulus measurement revealed that rendered stimuli differed from nominal stimuli in both chromaticity and luminance. We discuss the implications of these deviations for both our results and those from other working memory studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Color
  • Delayed estimation
  • Visual working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Stimulus-specific variability in color working memory with delayed estimation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this