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Geoffrey F. Woodman, Edward K. Vogel; Visual working memory consolidation is not slowed by concurrent maintenance. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):617. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/5.8.617.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Although many studies have examined the transformation of perceptual representations into durable temporary memory representations, a process often called consolidation, little is known about the consolidation of information into visual working memory when it already contains information. To examine the relationship between these elemental working memory control processes we required subjects to remember simple objects that were masked to interrupt the consolidation process and estimate the amount of information consolidated prior to the mask presentation. We compared the rate of consolidation in two conditions. In the consolidation-baseline condition only a set of masked items had to be remembered, where as in a consolidation-during-maintenance condition subjects needed to remember a set of unmasked items and then were shown an array of masked items to remember. We hypothesized that if the control processes of consolidation and maintenance draw upon common resources then consolidation should be less efficient when performed concurrently with maintenance. In contrast, we found that an identical amount of information was encoded per unit time in both conditions. These results indicate that visual working memory consolidation operates at the same rate regardless of whether information is being concurrently maintained in visual working memory. In addition, these findings suggest that visual working memory consolidation and maintenance are essentially independent processes constrained by a common capacity limit.
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