Multiple strategies for spatial integration of 2D layouts within working memory

Tobias Meilinger, Katsumi Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Prior results on the spatial integration of layouts within a room differed regarding the reference frame that participants used for integration. We asked whether these differences also occur when integrating 2D screen views and, if so, what the reasons for this might be. In four experiments we showed that integrating reference frames varied as a function of task familiarity combined with processing time, cues for spatial transformation, and information about action requirements paralleling results in the 3D case. Participants saw part of an object layout in screen 1, another part in screen 2, and reacted on the integrated layout in screen 3. Layout presentations between two screens coincided or differed in orientation. Aligning misaligned screens for integration is known to increase errors/latencies. The error/latency pattern was thus indicative of the reference frame used for integration. We showed that task familiarity combined with self-paced learning, visual updating, and knowing from where to act prioritized the integration within the reference frame of the initial presentation, which was updated later, and from where participants acted respectively. Participants also heavily relied on layout intrinsic frames. The results show how humans flexibly adjust their integration strategy to a wide variety of conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0154088
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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