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Joo-Hyun Song, Patrick Bédard; Long-lasting paradoxical effects of attentional-states on visuomotor learning. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):848. doi: 10.1167/14.10.848.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Attention is typically viewed as a necessary resource that facilitates cognitive functions. Here, in contrast, we showed that for visuomotor memory retention, attention plays an obligatory role as an internal context rather than as a resource. We recently demonstrated that when visuomotor adaptation initially occurred during a dual-task context requiring divided attention, robust "savings" were paradoxically observed only under divided attention, and not under undivided attention, during recall. This result indicates that divided attention during learning itself does not disrupt new visuomotor memory formation, but does provide a critical context that must be repeated during recall for learning to improve performance. Importantly, the existence of such internal context-dependent "savings" was replicated when the nature of the secondary task or even the modality required for the secondary task changed from adaptation to recall. Here, we examined whether this paradoxical attentional-state is interested in long-term memory. During the adaptation phase, two groups of participants performed a dual-task paradigm: a visuomotor adaptation task (45° CCW rotation) and a concurrent attention demanding rapid serial visual presentation task (RSVP) in which a stream of five inverted or upright 'T's in different colors appeared sequentially. Then, during recall, which occurred one day after the initial learning phase, we manipulated the consistency of attentional states by requiring participants to either perform the RSVP task (RSVP-RSVP) or not (RSVP-No) during recall. We also had a control group who never performed the attentional task (No-No). We found that paradoxically, the RSVP-RSVP group with less available attentional resources improved more at recall than the RSVP-No group but equivalently with the control group. Thus, paradoxical effects of attentional states on memory retrieval lasted at least one day after initial learning. This result suggests that attentional states are integrated into long-term memory, which determines the success of visuomotor memory recall.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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