Evidence for Two Attentional Components in Visual Working Memory

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Abstract

How does executive attentional control contribute to memory for sequences of visual objects, and what does this reveal about storage and processing in working memory? Three experiments examined the impact of a concurrent executive load (backward counting) on memory for sequences of individually presented visual objects. Experiments 1 and 2 found disruptive concurrent load effects of equivalent magnitude on memory for shapes, colors, and colored shape conjunctions (as measured by single-probe recognition). These effects were present only for Items 1 and 2 in a 3-item sequence; the final item was always impervious to this disruption. This pattern of findings was precisely replicated in Experiment 3 when using a cued verbal recall measure of shape-color binding, with error analysis providing additional insights concerning attention-related loss of early-sequence items. These findings indicate an important role for executive processes in maintaining representations of earlier encountered stimuli in an active form alongside privileged storage of the most recent stimulus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499-1509
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2014

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