Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David A. Washburn - Chair

Second Advisor

Heather M. Kleider

Third Advisor

Eric J. Vanman


Estimates of the capacity of visuospatial short-term memory (VSTM) have ranged from less than 1 item to 4 +/- 1 items. The purpose of the present study was to find the capacity of VSTM by looking at the contribution of the other working memory systems (phonological loop and central executive) and determine the factor that limits VSTM capacity (either number of objects or object complexity). In this study, the psychophysiological measure of cerebral blood flow velocity also was incorporated to determine whether changes in cerebral blood flow velocity were indicative of VSTM performance and capacity. Both performance measures and cerebral blood flow velocity indicate that capacity for random polygons is approximately one object. Complexity of the objects affected capacity, such that simple objects had higher capacities and lower cerebral blood flow velocity than complex objects. Other working memory systems were not found to have an effect on performance.

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