August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Global/local object structure affects memory-driven capture of attention
Author Affiliations
  • Markus Conci
    Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
  • Hermann J. Müller
    Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 12. doi:
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      Markus Conci, Hermann J. Müller; Global/local object structure affects memory-driven capture of attention. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):12.

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

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Visual working memory and selective attention have shown to reveal close relationships, as contents in memory can determine where attention is deployed. For instance, visual search for a target object is typically slowed when a concurrent distractor matches with what is currently held in working memory (Soto et al., 2005; Olivers et al., 2006). Here, we investigated whether the structure of an object in memory affects the degree to which it reveals attentional capture. For instance, objects can be represented at multiple hierarchical levels, but in general, global object levels are prioritized over more local levels (e.g. Conci et al., 2011). In our study, we investigated the influence of such hierarchical structure by asking participants to memorize an object that comprises both global and local levels of representation. Performance in a subsequent search task revealed a graded influence showing a pattern of memory-driven capture: Search was slowed when a distractor matched with current memory contents, relative to an unrelated baseline distractor. Moreover, the capture effect was more pronounced when the distractor matched with the global object representation as compared to the local object level. Subsequent analyses indicated that not only attentional capture reflected the inherent object structure, but the memory representation itself was graded. In sum, these results show a global bias of objects represented in working memory, affecting how attention is deployed. This suggests that the perceptual structure of an object directly determines the fidelity with which that object is hierarchically represented in working memory.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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