Memory-Based Automaticity in the Discrimination of Visual Numerosity

Mary Utter, Gordon D. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


In the development of memory-based models of automaticity, it is crucial to specify the nature of the memory representation. Seven experiments with 94 students use a counting task to determine whether a feature (i.e., identity, color, or orientation) is explicitly represented in memory. It is assumed that the degree of transfer to a pattern differing on one feature is determined by that feature's importance in supporting skilled performance. Experiment 1 determined the practice necessary to obtain automaticity. In Experiments 2a, 3a, and 4a, which investigated the nature of the representation after extended practice, changing neither the identity nor color of elements had strong effects on transfer, but changing pattern orientation did repair memory retrieval, thus suggesting that for the counting task, pattern orientation is more important than element identity or color. Experiments 2b, 3b, and 4b replicated these results after limited practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-581
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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