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Image memorability across longer time intervals

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You may find some images easier to remember than others. Recent studies of visual memory have found remarkable levels of consistency for this inter-item variability across observers, suggesting that memorability can be considered an intrinsic image property. The current study replicated and extended previous results, while adopting a more traditional visual long-term memory task with retention intervals of 20 min, one day, and one week, as opposed to the previously used repeat-detection task, which typically relied on short retention intervals (5 min). Our memorability rank scores show levels of consistency across observers in line with those reported in previous research. They correlate strongly with previous quantifications and appear stable over time. Furthermore, we show that the way consistency of memorability scores increases with the number of responses per image follows the Spearman–Brown formula. Interestingly, our results also seem to show an increase in consistency with an increase in retention interval. Supported by simulated data, this effect is attributed to a decrease of extraneous influences on recognition over time. Finally, we also provide evidence for a log-linear, rather than linear, decline of the raw memorability scores over time, with more memorable images declining less strongly.
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Keywords: Image memorability; long-term memory; scenes; time; visual memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, University of Leuven Department of Brain and Cognition, Laboratory for Experimental Psychology, Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: May 28, 2018

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