The majority of things exhibit strong spatial regularity (e.g., beach umbrellas appear above, not under, beach chairs). Visual working memory (VWM) benefits from the spatial regularities of real-world objects, although it was unclear how this happens. According to the “encoding specificity” concept, spatial regularity will improve visual encoding but will not make it easier to integrate data from the internet during VWM maintenance. Spatial regularity was thought to have a role in visual encoding and online integration during VWM maintenance, according to the “perception-alike” theory. 

By concentrating on the existence of the spatial regularity effect, researchers sought to determine whether VWM integrated sequentially presented real-world items. They varied the presentation (simultaneous vs. sequential) and regularity (with vs. without regularity) of memory arrays among pairs of real-world items throughout the course of five tests. VWM performance was enhanced by the spatial regularity of memory items presented concurrently rather than sequentially. They also investigated whether the memory load, verbal masking and suppression, and memory array length interfered with the sequential presentation impact of spatial regularity. The participants may have yet to be able to integrate real-world items based on spatial regularities online, according to the persistent lack of the spatial regularity effect. 

The findings were consistent with the encoding specificity theory, according to which real-world objects’ spatial regularity could improve the effectiveness of VWM encoding but that VWM cannot take advantage of spatial regularity to assist arrange sampled sequential data into useful integrations.

Reference: jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2783611