Switching between environmental representations in memory

James R. Brockmole, Ranxiao Frances Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In everyday life we accomplish tasks that require the storage and access of mental representations of different environments that we are not currently perceiving. Past research has suggested that environments are encoded by a series of independent representations that are organized in memory. Three experiments tested this idea further by asking whether multiple representations of environments can be accessed simultaneously. Using a cued task-set switching paradigm, subjects judged spatial relationships between target locations in two familiar environments. Response times were longer when successive trials probed different environments, an effect not due to switching between semantic categories or semantic priming, suggesting that representations of environments are accessed sequentially. Implications for various hypotheses concerning the properties of environmental representations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-316
Number of pages22
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Environmental representations
  • Memory
  • Switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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