September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Relational memory is enhanced in the attentional boost effect
Author Affiliations
  • Hamid Turker
    Department of Psychology & Cognitive Science Program, Cornell University
  • Khena Swallow
    Department of Psychology & Cognitive Science Program, Cornell University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 876. doi:10.1167/17.10.876
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      Hamid Turker, Khena Swallow; Relational memory is enhanced in the attentional boost effect. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):876. doi: 10.1167/17.10.876.

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

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Abstract

In the Attentional Boost Effect (ABE), increasing attention to a target in a detection task facilitates performance in a concurrent encoding task. For example, people better remember visual scenes that were encoded at the same time that a superimposed square appeared in a color that required a response (i.e., a target). Thus, attending to targets facilitates memory for the background scene. In two experiments, we asked whether target detection also facilitates relational memory for the background scene, an associated object, and task-irrelevant features of that object. In Experiment 1, participants encoded a series of scenes (1000 ms duration; 0 ms ITI) and pressed a button whenever the superimposed object was a target shape (e.g., a circle; 200 ms duration). Objects appeared in one of two colors, which were task-irrelevant. Participants were subsequently tested on their memory for the scene, the object that appeared with that scene, and the color of the object. Replicating the ABE, scenes paired with targets were better recognized than scenes paired with distractors. Participants also better remembered the task-relevant shape of the object that appeared with target-paired scenes. However, there was no difference in memory for color. Thus, target-detection enhances relational memory for scenes and relevant, but not irrelevant, features of concurrently presented objects. In Experiment 2, we asked if participants remembered only that a scene had been presented with a target rather than a distractor. If so, participants would be unable to indicate which of two equally familiar targets appeared with that scene. However, when targets and distractors were faces of each gender, participants nevertheless better identified which of two target-faces appeared with a target-paired scene than distractor-faces with distractor-paired scenes. These data suggest that target detection facilitates memory for concurrent stimuli in an event, implicating a role for regions involved in encoding and retrieving episodic memories.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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