Out of Sight, Out of Mind? The Effect of Visual Field of View Restrictions on Working Memory

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Pasma, Derek




Visual field of view (FoV) restrictions have been found to impair performance on a variety of tasks, including estimating distances, locomotion, target tracking, and the developing spatial representations, as well as in specific domains such as aviation. Explanations for these impairments have largely focused on the restrictions to the physical environment and lack of peripheral information available to the user. The goal of this thesis was to provide a more complete account of these performance impairments by examining whether restrictions to the visual field affected working memory; a cognitive component responsible for the maintenance, integration, and retrieval of visual information. Three experiments were conducted in which the impact of restricted FoV on memory for simple geons was examined. In Experiment 1, restricting FoV was shown to decrease performance on a Geon Memory Task (GMT). Experiment 2 established the relative difficulties of four secondary tasks commonly used in dual-task paradigms (counting, counting/tapping, spatial tapping, and random tapping) to tax individual working memory components and used as secondary working memory tasks in Experiment 3. Experiment 3 examined the relationship between FoV, working memory, and performance on the GMT using a dual-task paradigm. Results from Experiment 3 were consistent with those of Experiment 1 and further supported the hypothesis that FoV negatively affects phonological and visuo-spatial working memory. The central executive was not negatively affected by FoV restrictions. The present findings suggest a more complete account of the impact of FoV restrictions than the lack of peripheral information alone and offer important contributions to the working memory literature.


Psychology - Cognitive
Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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