Boundary Extension: Beneficial or Problematic?

Boundary Extension occurs when one is remembering an image. Boundary Extension is when one includes more details than were actually shown. When I think of this process, it makes me think of the zoom function on a camera. To be more specific, when you see the image for the first time it’s as if the camera is zoomed in and focused on one piece of a bigger picture. Then, when you remember it later, it’s as if your brain zoomed out to reveal what was surrounding that one small piece. The information that is stored in our Long Term Visual Memory is referred to as image files. We use these as rules to construct and reconstruct images in our mind. It can be problematic if one is incorrect in their assumptions of the background. However, these image files and the process of background extension can be useful for our understanding of the world as comprehensive and continuous. It may also be useful if you are attempting to remember a scene or where an object was when you only saw that scene for a short period of time. For example, image driving your friend home from school. When you arrive at their house, you go inside to use the bathroom. Then you leave and return home, only to realize that your backpack is nowhere to be found. Then, you realize that you left it at your friend’s house when you walked inside. You cannot remember where exactly you left it but you do remember that it was next to the blue lamp. As you picture the blue lamp, you attempt to recall what is around the lamp. Usually, we find a desk or a couch is next to a lamp. This image file allows you to recall that you left your backpack next to the desk in the study. This is just one of the many uses of background extension.

Boundary extension. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2016, from