Visual similarity at encoding and retrieval in an item recognition task

Judit Mate, Josep Baques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this experiment was to examine the effects of shape similarity in visual working memory using a six alternative recognition task of Chinese characters. Shape similarity among items was manipulated at both encoding and retrieval in order to assess in which phase similarity impairs recognition to a greater degree. Results revealed that performance is particularly facilitated by high discriminability at retrieval but also by the presence of similar items at encoding, as similarity simplifies the global representation of the display and reduces memory load. Moreover, results provide further evidence that the classical similarity effect can be reversed in the visual domain when item memory (as opposed to order) is assessed. © 2008 The Experimental Psychology Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1284
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Recognition
  • Relational processing
  • Similarity effects
  • Visual short-term memory
  • Visual working memory


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