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Nancy Carlisle, Steve Luck; Working Memory Guidance of Attention: Examining the Accessory State Proposal . Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):644. https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.644.
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Recently, Olivers and colleages (Olivers, Peters, Houtkamp, & Roelfsema, 2011) have suggested that a single item in working memory (WM) influences attention, while other WM items are held in an accessory state. In this study, we examine this prediction by looking at the impact of working memory items over multiple trials searching for the same target. It has been shown that target templates are housed in WM for the first few repetitions of searching for the same target, then moved out of WM (Carlisle, Arita, Pardo & Woodman, 2011). Given the proposal of Olivers, et al. a WM-matching distractor should have little influence on search during the first few trials searching for the same target, as the WM item will be relegated to an accessory state. As the target template moves from WM to LTM across repeated search trials, we would expect to see an increasing attentional impact of WM-matching distractors. In contrast to the proposed increasing WM-distractor effect with increased repetition, we found no significant correlation in WM-distractor effects across 10 trials of repeated search for the same target (r=-.21; p=.55, N=48). This suggests that whether a WM item is relegated to an accessory state is not determined by whether a target template is being held in working memory.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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