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Christian H. Poth, Claus Bundesen, Anders Petersen, Werner X. Schneider; Monitoring for visual prospective memory events reduces visual processing speed in ongoing tasks. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):536. doi: 10.1167/14.10.536.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In event-based prospective memory (EPM) tasks, the intention to act in response to an external event is formed, retained, and, when the event occurs, enacted. Monitoring of the environment for such an event might be necessary for triggering the memory-based response. This is thought to make attentional demands and thereby interfere with other ongoing tasks. These monitoring demands have never been specified for the visual domain. Here we asked whether the attentional components specified by Bundesen [1990, Psychological Review, 97(4), 523-547] are affected during environmental monitoring and whether this varies with the events perceptual salience. The ongoing task followed Vangkilde, Bundesen, and Coull (2011, Psychopharmacology, 218, 667-680). Letters were shown for different durations and afterwards to be reported. The attentional components threshold of conscious perception, capacity of visual short-term memory, processing speed, top-down controlled selectivity, and laterality of attentional weighting were estimated from report-accuracy. Events for the EPM task were brief increases in the fixation crosss luminance on 10% of the trials (randomly chosen). Responses (button-press) to events were required in the event and salient-event conditions, but not in the control condition. Events were of higher brightness (salience) in the salient-event condition compared with the event and control conditions. Only trials without events or responses were analyzed, to capture only intention retention effects. Visual processing speed was lower in the event and salient-event condition than in the control condition. Likewise, it was lower in the event than in the salient-event condition. This was replicated in another experiment, while there were no stable effects on the other attentional components. In sum, visual processing speed for an ongoing tasks stimuli is reduced during the retention interval of a visual EPM task. Further, this reduction seems to be less pronounced when EPM events are more salient and thus might require less active monitoring.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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