Memory for nontargets in RSVP sequences
Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) sequences consist of stimuli presented consecutively at a rapid rate. Prior to viewing a RSVP, participants are typically instructed to look for a specific target stimulus or stimuli. The memory for non-targets presented RSVP sequences has been investigated in just two previous studies, which found competing results (Nieuwenstein & Potter, 2006; Meng & Potter, 2011). Nieuwenstein and Potter found that as a RSVP sequence progressed, memory for non-targets decreased. Meng and Potter found the opposite pattern with memory improvement for non-targets as a sequence progressed. The present study consists of two comparison groups: the memory only group (n=65) was instructed to remember all the words presented in a sequence, while the target + memory group (n=64) was instructed to search for a target word in addition to remembering all eight words presented. The memory only group showed better memory for words that occurred later in the sequence. When the target was not present, the target + memory group also showed a significant effect of lag, but in contrast to the memory only group, the increase in memory occurred earlier in the list and was maintained. The memory only group had better memory overall at all lags compared to the target + memory group.