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Zuzanna Klyszejko, Masih Rahmati, Clayton E Curtis; Attentional Priority Determines Working Memory Precision. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1372. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1372.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual working memory is a system used to hold information actively in mind temporarily. The number of items and the precision with which we can store information has limits that define its capacity. How much control do we have over the precision with which we store information when faced with these severe capacity limitations? Here, we tested the hypothesis that attentional priority determines the precision of working memory representations. We conducted two psychophysical experiments that manipulated the item priority. In Experiment 1, we varied the probabilities with which memorized items were likely to be tested. In Experiment 2, we varied priority by varying monetary incentives contingent upon successful memory for items tested. Moreover, we formalize our hypothesis using a simple generative computational model that distributed attentional resources across items with different priorities. We found strong evidence in both experiments that priority affects the precision of working memory in a manner that matches the response output of our model. Our results demonstrate that representations of priority may provide a mechanism by which resources can be reallocated to increase the precision with which we encode and store information in a capacity limited system
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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