Perception of object continuity depends on establishing correspondence between objects viewed across disruptions in visual information. The role of spatiotemporal information in guiding object continuity is well documented; the role of surface features, however, is controversial. Some researchers have shown an object-specific preview benefit (OSPB)-a standard index of object continuity-only when correspondence could be based on an object's spatiotemporal information, whereas others have found color-based OSPB, suggesting that surface features can also guide object continuity. This study shows that surface feature-based OSPB is dependent on the task memory demands. When the task involved letters and matching just one target letter to the preview ones, no color congruency effect was found under spatiotemporal discontinuity and spatiotemporal ambiguity (Experiments 1-3), indicating that the absence of feature-based OSPB cannot be accounted for by salient spatiotemporal discontinuity. When the task involved complex shapes and matching two target shapes to the preview ones, color-based OSPB was obtained. Critically, however, when a visual working memory task was performed concurrently with the matching task, the presence of a nonspatial (but not a spatial) working memory load eliminated the color-based OSPB (Experiments 4 and 5). These results suggest that the surface feature congruency effects that are observed in the object-reviewing paradigm (with the matching task) reflect memory-based strategies that participants use to solve a memory-demanding task; therefore, they are not reliable measures of online object continuity and cannot be taken as evidence for the role of surface features in establishing object correspondence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Max Wertheimer Minerva Center for Cognitive Processes and Human Performance, University of Haifa. We thank the reviewers and editor for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this article. The comments of one of our anonymous reviewers in particular inspired the direct examination of the memory account, for which we are very grateful.
- Object continuity
- Object correspondence
- Object files
- Object-reviewing paradigm
- Spatiotemporal information
- Surface features
- Visual working memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)