Iconic Memory and Attention in the Overflow Debate

Cogent Psychology 4 (1):01-11 (2017)
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The overflow debate concerns this following question: does conscious iconic memory have a higher capacity than attention does? In recent years, Ned Block has been invoking empirical works to support the positive answer to this question. The view is called the “rich view” or the “Overflow view”. One central thread of this discussion concerns the nature of iconic memory: for example how rich they are and whether they are conscious. The first section discusses a potential misunderstanding of “visible persistence” in this literature. The second section discusses varieties of attention relevant to this debate. The final section discusses the most prominent alternative interpretation of the Sperling paradigm—the postdiction interpretation—and explains how it can be made compatible with a weaker version of the rich or overflow view.

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Tony Cheng
University College London


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