Is Iconic Memory Iconic?

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Short‐term memory in vision is typically thought to divide into at least two memory stores: a short, fragile, high‐capacity store known as iconic memory, and a longer, durable, capacity‐limited store known as visual working memory (VWM). This paper argues that iconic memory stores icons, i.e., image‐like perceptual representations. The iconicity of iconic memory has significant consequences for understanding consciousness, nonconceptual content, and the perception–cognition border. Steven Gross and Jonathan Flombaum have recently challenged the division between iconic memory and VWM by arguing against the idea of capacity limits in favor of a flexible resource‐based model of short‐term memory. I argue that, while VWM capacity is probably governed by flexible resources rather than a sharp limit, the two memory stores should still be distinguished by their representational formats. Iconic memory stores icons, while VWM stores discursive (i.e., language‐like) representations. I conclude by arguing that this format‐based distinction between memory stores entails that prominent views about consciousness and the perception–cognition border will likely have to be revised.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-07-27
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
271 ( #21,848 of 2,432,429 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
71 ( #9,734 of 2,432,429 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.