Visual memory for scenes is surprisingly robust. We wished to examine whether an analogous ability exists in the auditory domain. Participants listened to a variety of sound clips and were tested on their ability to distinguish old from new clips. Stimuli ranged from complex auditory scenes (e.g., talking in a pool hall) to isolated auditory objects (e.g., a dog barking) to music. In some conditions, additional information was provided to help participants with encoding. In every situation, however, auditory memory proved to be systematically inferior to visual memory. This suggests that there exists either a fundamental difference between auditory and visual stimuli, or, more plausibly, an asymmetry between auditory and visual processing
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