Evidence for 40-Hz oscillatory short-term visual memory revealed by human reaction-time measurements
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Elliott, M. A., & Muller, H. J. Evidence for 40-Hz oscillatory short-term visual memory revealed by human reaction-time measurements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26(3), 703-718.
Four experiments show that presentation of a synchronous premask frame within a 40-Hz, flickering premask matrix primes subsequent detection of a Kanizsa-type square by generation of a 40-Hz prime. Reaction time (RT) priming effects indicated a 150-200-ms prime duration following premask display. RTs were also found to be sensitive to the phase relationship between offset of the premask display relative to the onset time of the target: Priming effects were maximal when the target was presented out of phase with premask presentation (i.e., at interstimulus intervals displaced by 180 degrees relative to the 40-Hz rhythm of premask-frame presentation). Taken together, these results demonstrate the existence of a very short-term visual memory that oscillates at 40 Hz. The findings are discussed in the context of complementary psychological and neurophysiological findings related to visual-object coding and the role of gamma-band activity in the brain.