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Real-world objects are more memorable than photographs of objects.

Snow JC, Skiba RM, Coleman TL, Berryhill ME - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: Surprisingly, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for real objects compared to colored photographs or line drawings (for which memory performance was equivalent).Again, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for the real objects than matched color photos of the same items.Our results highlight the importance of studying real-world object cognition and raise the potential for applied use in developing effective strategies for education, marketing, and further research on object-related cognition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive and Brain Sciences Group, Department of Psychology, University of Nevada Reno, NV, USA.

ABSTRACT
Research studies in psychology typically use two-dimensional (2D) images of objects as proxies for real-world three-dimensional (3D) stimuli. There are, however, a number of important differences between real objects and images that could influence cognition and behavior. Although human memory has been studied extensively, only a handful of studies have used real objects in the context of memory and virtually none have directly compared memory for real objects vs. their 2D counterparts. Here we examined whether or not episodic memory is influenced by the format in which objects are displayed. We conducted two experiments asking participants to freely recall, and to recognize, a set of 44 common household objects. Critically, the exemplars were displayed to observers in one of three viewing conditions: real-world objects, colored photographs, or black and white line drawings. Stimuli were closely matched across conditions for size, orientation, and illumination. Surprisingly, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for real objects compared to colored photographs or line drawings (for which memory performance was equivalent). We replicated this pattern in a second experiment comparing memory for real objects vs. color photos, when the stimuli were matched for viewing angle across conditions. Again, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for the real objects than matched color photos of the same items. Taken together, our data suggest that real objects are more memorable than pictorial stimuli. Our results highlight the importance of studying real-world object cognition and raise the potential for applied use in developing effective strategies for education, marketing, and further research on object-related cognition.

No MeSH data available.


Data from Experiment 2 in which we tested memory performance for real objects vs. color photographs in a separate set of observers. (A) As in Experiment 1, stimuli presented as real objects in the Study phase were recalled significantly better than color photograph displays of the same items. (B) There was no difference in the number of falsely recalled items between real objects and photos. (C) Analysis of the recognition data revealed that participants in the real object condition made an equivalent number of false recalls as observers in the color photos condition. (D) Finally, a SD analysis of the recall data revealed that observers who viewed real objects were significantly more sensitive to the study material than those who studied color photos of the same objects. Error bars represent SE. *p < 0.05.
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Figure 3: Data from Experiment 2 in which we tested memory performance for real objects vs. color photographs in a separate set of observers. (A) As in Experiment 1, stimuli presented as real objects in the Study phase were recalled significantly better than color photograph displays of the same items. (B) There was no difference in the number of falsely recalled items between real objects and photos. (C) Analysis of the recognition data revealed that participants in the real object condition made an equivalent number of false recalls as observers in the color photos condition. (D) Finally, a SD analysis of the recall data revealed that observers who viewed real objects were significantly more sensitive to the study material than those who studied color photos of the same objects. Error bars represent SE. *p < 0.05.

Mentions: As in Experiment 1, observers recalled a greater number of items in the real object (Mean = 48.17%, SD = 14.86%) than the color photograph condition [Mean = 42.05%, SD = 11.48%; t(90) = −2.149, p = 0.034, Cohen's d = −0.45] (Figure 3A). Although there were again fewer falsely recalled items in the real (Mean = 0.93, SD = 1.05) than the color photograph (Mean = 1.21, SD = 1.30) condition (Figure 3B), this difference did not reach statistical significance [t(90) = 1.11, p = 0.27]. Recognition performance (% correct) was also significantly better for real objects (M = 90.24%, SD = 7.38%) than color photographs [Mean = 90.24%, SD = 7.37%; t(90) = −2.261, p = 0.026, Cohen's d = −0.47] (Figure 3C). A SD analysis of the recognition data revealed that sensitivity (mean d′) was significantly higher for real objects (Mean = 2.70, SD = 0.86) than colored photographs (Mean = 2.33, SD = 0.91) (Figure 3D), [t(90) = 2.03, p = 0.045, Cohen's d = 0.43].


Real-world objects are more memorable than photographs of objects.

Snow JC, Skiba RM, Coleman TL, Berryhill ME - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Data from Experiment 2 in which we tested memory performance for real objects vs. color photographs in a separate set of observers. (A) As in Experiment 1, stimuli presented as real objects in the Study phase were recalled significantly better than color photograph displays of the same items. (B) There was no difference in the number of falsely recalled items between real objects and photos. (C) Analysis of the recognition data revealed that participants in the real object condition made an equivalent number of false recalls as observers in the color photos condition. (D) Finally, a SD analysis of the recall data revealed that observers who viewed real objects were significantly more sensitive to the study material than those who studied color photos of the same objects. Error bars represent SE. *p < 0.05.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4202719&req=5

Figure 3: Data from Experiment 2 in which we tested memory performance for real objects vs. color photographs in a separate set of observers. (A) As in Experiment 1, stimuli presented as real objects in the Study phase were recalled significantly better than color photograph displays of the same items. (B) There was no difference in the number of falsely recalled items between real objects and photos. (C) Analysis of the recognition data revealed that participants in the real object condition made an equivalent number of false recalls as observers in the color photos condition. (D) Finally, a SD analysis of the recall data revealed that observers who viewed real objects were significantly more sensitive to the study material than those who studied color photos of the same objects. Error bars represent SE. *p < 0.05.
Mentions: As in Experiment 1, observers recalled a greater number of items in the real object (Mean = 48.17%, SD = 14.86%) than the color photograph condition [Mean = 42.05%, SD = 11.48%; t(90) = −2.149, p = 0.034, Cohen's d = −0.45] (Figure 3A). Although there were again fewer falsely recalled items in the real (Mean = 0.93, SD = 1.05) than the color photograph (Mean = 1.21, SD = 1.30) condition (Figure 3B), this difference did not reach statistical significance [t(90) = 1.11, p = 0.27]. Recognition performance (% correct) was also significantly better for real objects (M = 90.24%, SD = 7.38%) than color photographs [Mean = 90.24%, SD = 7.37%; t(90) = −2.261, p = 0.026, Cohen's d = −0.47] (Figure 3C). A SD analysis of the recognition data revealed that sensitivity (mean d′) was significantly higher for real objects (Mean = 2.70, SD = 0.86) than colored photographs (Mean = 2.33, SD = 0.91) (Figure 3D), [t(90) = 2.03, p = 0.045, Cohen's d = 0.43].

Bottom Line: Surprisingly, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for real objects compared to colored photographs or line drawings (for which memory performance was equivalent).Again, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for the real objects than matched color photos of the same items.Our results highlight the importance of studying real-world object cognition and raise the potential for applied use in developing effective strategies for education, marketing, and further research on object-related cognition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive and Brain Sciences Group, Department of Psychology, University of Nevada Reno, NV, USA.

ABSTRACT
Research studies in psychology typically use two-dimensional (2D) images of objects as proxies for real-world three-dimensional (3D) stimuli. There are, however, a number of important differences between real objects and images that could influence cognition and behavior. Although human memory has been studied extensively, only a handful of studies have used real objects in the context of memory and virtually none have directly compared memory for real objects vs. their 2D counterparts. Here we examined whether or not episodic memory is influenced by the format in which objects are displayed. We conducted two experiments asking participants to freely recall, and to recognize, a set of 44 common household objects. Critically, the exemplars were displayed to observers in one of three viewing conditions: real-world objects, colored photographs, or black and white line drawings. Stimuli were closely matched across conditions for size, orientation, and illumination. Surprisingly, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for real objects compared to colored photographs or line drawings (for which memory performance was equivalent). We replicated this pattern in a second experiment comparing memory for real objects vs. color photos, when the stimuli were matched for viewing angle across conditions. Again, recall and recognition performance was significantly better for the real objects than matched color photos of the same items. Taken together, our data suggest that real objects are more memorable than pictorial stimuli. Our results highlight the importance of studying real-world object cognition and raise the potential for applied use in developing effective strategies for education, marketing, and further research on object-related cognition.

No MeSH data available.