August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Interactions Between Visual Working Memory and Selective Attention in Adults, Control Children, and Survivors of Pediatric Cancer
Author Affiliations
  • Melissa Trevino
    Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, University of Houston
  • Bruno Breitmeyer
    Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, University of Houston
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 1080. doi:10.1167/16.12.1080
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      Melissa Trevino, Bruno Breitmeyer; Interactions Between Visual Working Memory and Selective Attention in Adults, Control Children, and Survivors of Pediatric Cancer. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1080. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1080.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Studies have shown that when visual working memory (VWM) reaches its processing limit when maintaining a substantial amount of information, its cognitive resources are depleted for use in other cognitive functions, such as selective attention (SA) (de Fockert et al., 2001). We investigated how VWM affects SA across and within spatial and feature-based information processing in adults (18+), typically developing children (10-18yrs.) and survivors of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (10-18yrs.). ALL survivors were included to assess cognitive outcomes of cancer treatment protocols. A dual-task paradigm, combining a VWM task and a flanker task assessing visual attention, was used. Adults ran in 18 dual-task conditions: varied by VWM load (1, 3, 5 items), VWM feature/task (color, shape, location) and of the flanker feature/task (color, shape). Adults also ran in 9 corresponding single-task VWM control conditions and 2 single-task flanker control conditions. Both child groups ran in 6 dual-task conditions of only a VWM load of 3 items but varied in VWM feature/task (color, shape, location) and of the flanker feature/task (color, shape). Child participants also ran in 3 single-task VWM control conditions and 2 single-task flanker conditions. Results reveal maintenance of information in VWM is susceptible to interference from the concurrent SA task for all three groups. VWM capacity estimates, K, decreased when a VWM task was preceded by a SA task compared to a single VWM task and this decrease was greater in both child groups than adults (see Figure 1). These interference effects were found to be feature specific for all groups. For the SA tasks, all three groups appeared to be immune to interference from a concurrent VWM task, since flanker effects (difference between incongruent and congruent reaction times) did not vary across condition (VWM single-task vs. VWM dual-task).

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016

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