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Attention and MemoryAn Integrated Framework$
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Nelson Cowan

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195119107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195119107.001.0001

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Sensory memory persistence

Sensory memory persistence

(p.49) 2. Sensory memory persistence
Attention and Memory

Nelson Cowan

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the role of sensory memory in current cognitive psychology. Its distinguishing features are discussed, as well as the types of sensory memory and their durations, uses, and neural representations. A view is proposed that differs markedly from the standard view of sensory memory, in which the duration of sensory memory (its persistence) differs dramatically between sensory modalities. Instead, it is proposed that sensory memory in every modality has two phases: a brief phase lasting several hundred milliseconds that serves as a vivid afterimage as perceptual encoding continues, and a second phase that is just the activation of sensory features in long-term memory. This activation is in principle similar to activation of non-sensory features.

Keywords:   sensory memory duration, modalities, neural representations, sensory memory phases, persistence, sensory modalities

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