Behavioral asymmetries in visual short-term memory occur in retinotopic coordinates

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Attention, perception & psychophysics




Visual field asymmetries; Visual short-term memory


Visual short-term memory (VSTM) is an essential store that creates continuous representations from disjointed visual input. However, severe capacity limits exist, reflecting constraints in supporting brain networks. VSTM performance shows spatial biases predicted by asymmetries in the brain based upon the location of the remembered object. Visual representations are retinotopic, or relative to location of the representation on the retina. It therefore stands to reason that memory performance may also show retinotopic biases. Here, eye position was manipulated to tease apart retinotopic coordinates from spatiotopic coordinates, or location relative to the external world. Memory performance was measured while participants performed a color change-detection task for items presented across the visual field while subjects fixated central or peripheral position. VSTM biases reflected the location of the stimulus on the retina, regardless of where the stimulus appeared on the screen. Therefore, spatial biases occur in retinotopic coordinates in VSTM and suggest a fundamental link between behavioral VSTM measures and visual representations.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences