ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (10): 1723-1731.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.01723

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Statistical Summary Representation: Contents and Mechanisms

TONG Ke1,2; TANG Wei1,2; CHEN Wenfeng1; FU Xiaolan1   

  1. (1 State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2015-01-23 Online:2015-10-15 Published:2015-10-15
  • Contact: CHEN Wenfeng, E-mail:


Humans are capable of extracting statistical information from multiple stimuli and forming statistical summary representation (SSR), in which central tendency and variability of the stimuli are represented. According to the use of attentional resource, the mechanisms of SSR could be categorized into ensemble processing under distributed attention and individual processing under focused attention. Both mechanisms interact in the working memory, constructing the representation of multiple stimuli. SSR occurs across different stimulus types in both low-level and high-level processing, suggesting that it may be a common encoding method in perception. Future work on SSR may focus on its neural substrates and its impact on decision making.

Key words: statistical summary representation, central tendency, variability, ensemble representation, sampling strategy