Flexibility in scanning described images
Two experiments investigated why past research has shown that described images lead to the typical increase in reaction time (RT) with increasing memory set size (m), but undescribed images do not. Experiment 1 used ms 6 through 8. A described image group showed a linear relation between m and RT up to a m of 6, and no increase in RT thereafter. A story group (which was asked to tell a brief story for words in a memory set) and a repetition group showed a linear relation between m and RT throughout the range of ms, whereas an image group showed no relation between m and RT. Experiment 2 essentially replicated the first experiment but manipulated memory strategy as a within subject variable. Similar results were found. The apparent change from "serial" to "parallel" processing by the described image groups in both studies reinforces the notion of flexibility in processing, particularly when multiple representations are formed or when multiple encoding strategies are used.
Bersted, Chris T. "Flexibility in scanning described images." Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 14, no. 1 (1988): 121.
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition