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Fiona McNab, Jumana Ahmad, Dipesh Mistry, Anna Nobre, Kimron Shapiro; The effects of spatial proximity and colour similarity on competition between targets and distractors on visual working memory.. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1378. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1378.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The ability to filter distractors in visual working memory (VWM) is important for VWM performance. However, the factors that affect such filtering, and possible interactions between them, are still a matter of debate. It is known that stimuli compete for attention, in turn affecting VWM performance, with both feature similarity and type of presentation (simultaneous versus sequential) shown to be important factors. Here we investigate the effects of target-distractor feature similarity, spatial proximity, and their interactions on VWM. Young adults (18-30 years) were asked to remember the colours of a column of three shapes (targets). Two other columns of shapes were shown, either on the left of the right of the targets. One was close to the targets and the other far from the targets. In the "spatial near" condition the shapes in the near column were coloured (distractors), and the shapes in the far column were unfilled outlines. In the "spatial far" condition the shapes in the far column were coloured distractors. Distractors were similar or dissimilar in colour compared to the targets. Participants responded by indicating the colour of a specified target by clicking on a colour wheel. We used a within-subjects design and measured VWM precision. Results suggest that the factors of target-distractor spatial proximity and colour similarity interact, such that greater colour similarity is associated reduced WM precision when targets and distractors are close in space. Our results support a growing body of evidence indicating that competition between stimuli affects VWM performance and underscore the importance of considering multiple factors in the experimental design of such studies.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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