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Get the Picture? Goodness of Image Organization Contributes to Image Memorability

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

According to Gestalt psychologists, goodness is a crucial variable for image organization. We hypothesized that these differences in goodness contribute to variability in image memorability. Building on this, we predicted that two characteristics of good organizations, (i) fast, efficient processing and (ii) robustness against transformations (e.g., shrinking), would be characteristic of memorable images. Two planned (Study 1, Study 2) and one follow-up (Study 3) study were conducted to test this. Study 1 operationalized fast processing as accuracy in a rapid-scene categorization task ("categorizability"). Study 2 operationalized robustness against shrinking as reaction time in a thumbnail search task ("shrinkability"). We used 44 real-life scene images of 14 semantic categories from a previous memorability study. Each image was assigned a categorizability and shrinkability score. The predicted positive relation between categorizability and memorability was not observed in Study 1. A post-hoc explanation attributed this null result to a masking role of image distinctiveness. Furthermore, memorable images were located faster in the thumbnail search task, as predicted, but Study 2 could not rule whether this was merely a result of their distinctiveness. To elucidate these results, Study 3 quantified the images on distinctiveness and statistically controlled for this variable in a reanalysis of Study 1 and Study 2. When distinctiveness was controlled for, categorizability and memorability did show a significant positive correlation. Moreover, the results also argued against the alternative explanation of the results of Study 2. Taken together, the results support the hypothesis that goodness of organization contributes to image memorability.
Journal: Journal of Cognition
ISSN: 2514-4820
Issue: 1
Volume: 2
Publication year:2019