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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00688

Briefly flashed scenes can be stored in long-term memory

 Arnaud Delorme1, 2, 3*,  Marlene Poncet4 and Michele Fabre-Thorpe1, 3
  • 1UMR5549 Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition (CerCo), France
  • 2University of California, San Diego, United States
  • 3Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France
  • 4University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

The capacity of human memory is impressive. Previous reports have shown that when asked to memorize images, participants can recognize several thousands of visual objects in great details even with a single viewing of a few seconds per image. In this experiment, we tested recognition performance for natural scenes that participants saw for 20ms only once (untrained group) or 22 times over many days (trained group) in an unrelated task. 400 images (200 previously viewed and 200 novel images) were flashed one at a time and participants were asked to lift their finger from a pad whenever they thought they had already seen the image (go/no-go paradigm). Compared to previous reports of excellent recognition performance with only single presentations of a few seconds, untrained participants were able to recognize only 64% of the 200 images they had seen few minutes before. On the other hand, trained participants, who had processed the flashed images (20 ms) several times, could correctly recognize 89% of them. EEG recordings confirmed these behavioral results. As early as 230ms after stimulus onset, a significant ERP difference between familiar and new images was observed for the trained but not for the untrained group. These results show that briefly flashed unmasked scenes can be incidentally stored in long-term memory when repeated.

Keywords: Categorization, Long-term memory, Visual Perception, Animal images, Go No-go task

Received: 17 Apr 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Marianne Latinus, INSERM U930 Imagerie et Cerveau, France

Reviewed by:

George L. Malcolm, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Jaana Simola, University of Helsinki, Finland  

Copyright: © 2018 Delorme, Poncet and Fabre-Thorpe. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Arnaud Delorme, UMR5549 Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition (CerCo), Toulouse, France,