Are items on the left better remembered?

Neurologically intact individuals show a spatial processing bias in perception tasks, specifically showing a bias towards the left in bisecting lines. We present evidence for a novel finding that a leftwards bias occurs in short-term memory for recently presented arbitrary bindings of visual features. Three experiments are reported, two of which involve a total of over 60,000 participants with a small number of trials for each. Experiment 3 involved a larger number of trials for each of 144 participants. Participants reproduced from immediate memory arrays of shape-colour-location bindings. In all three experiments, significantly more errors were observed in reproduction of items presented on the right of the array than on the left. Results could not be accounted for by perceptual errors, or by order of presentation or order of reproduction. Findings suggest that items presented on the left are better remembered, indicating a spatial asymmetry in forming or retrieving feature bindings in visual short-term memory.

Source: “Items on the left are better remembered” from The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 63, Issue 5 May 2010 , pages 848 – 855

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