The visual and semantic features that predict object memory: Concept property norms for 1,000 object images.


Humans have a remarkable fidelity for visual long-term memory, and yet the composition of these memories is a longstanding debate in cognitive psychology. While much of the work on long-term memory has focused on processes associated with successful encoding and retrieval, more recent work on visual object recognition has developed a focus on the memorability of specific visual stimuli. Such work is engendering a view of object representation as a hierarchical movement from low-level visual representations to higher level categorical organization of conceptual representations. However, studies on object recognition often fail to account for how these high- and low-level features interact to promote distinct forms of memory. Here, we use both visual and semantic factors to investigate their relative contributions to two different forms of memory of everyday objects. We first collected normative visual and semantic feature information on 1,000 object images. We then conducted a memory study where we presented these same images during encoding (picture target) on Day 1, and then either a Lexical (lexical cue) or Visual (picture cue) memory test on Day 2. Our findings indicate that: (1) higher level visual factors (via DNNs) and semantic factors (via feature-based statistics) make independent contributions to object memory, (2) semantic information contributes to both true and false memory performance, and (3) factors that predict object memory depend on the type of memory being tested. These findings help to provide a more complete picture of what factors influence object memorability. These data are available online upon publication as a public resource.