Call for Submissions: Special Issue of Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics on “Structure of Visual Working Memory”

The journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, the official journal of the Psychonomic Society, is requesting submissions on the topic of the structure of visual working memory.

Submissions are due by July 1, 2013 for publication in Winter 2013.

We will consider regular Research Articles, Short Reports, and a limited number of Opinion/Review pieces. For Opinion / Review submissions, please send a presubmission inquiry to Jeremy Wolfe (, Editor.

This special issue is coordinated with a Symposium on the same topic to be held at the Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, Florida, May 10, 2013.

Working memory is an essential component of perception, cognition, and action. The past eight years have seen a surge of activity aimed at understanding the structure of visual working memory. The symposium will consider two central theoretical issues: slots versus resources, and the role of context.

SLOTS VERSUS RESOURCES: Working memory is widely believed to be subject to an item limit: no more than a fixed number of items can be stored and any additional items are forgotten. In 2004, Wilken and Ma challenged this notion and advocated for an alternative framework in which a continuous memory resource is divided over all items and errors are explained in terms of the quality of encoding rather than the quantity of remembered items. Since then, arguments have been made on both sides. New concepts that have been introduced in this debate include variable precision, non-target reports, Bayesian inference, and the neural substrate of memory resource.

THE ROLE OF CONTEXT: In the slots-versus-resources debate, items are routinely assumed to be encoded independently in working memory. This assumption is likely to be wrong, but how wrong? Recent work has pointed out the large effects of the context in which an item is presented. Items seem to be remembered in groups or ensembles organized by space or feature, and this introduces predictable biases. (Prose modified from the symposium description).

For the Special Issue, we welcome papers on these topics or other topics in the study of visual working memory. Submission is via the standard journal website:

Questions and comments can be directed to Jeremy Wolfe (, Editor.

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