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Maria Giammarco, Kate Turner, Emma Guild, Naseem Al-Aidroos; The impact of long-term memory based attentional control settings on spatial and non-spatial components of attention. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):306. doi: 10.1167/15.12.306.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In recent work we demonstrated that long-term memory can guide the capture of visual spatial attention. Specifically, when participants look for any of a number of task-relevant objects in their visual environment, they adopt attentional control settings (ACSs) based on representations of the target objects in episodic long-term memory. With these ACSs implemented, cues in an attention cueing task only capture visual spatial attention when they match targets in memory. In the present study we investigated how contingent cueing is affected by varying memory demands. In Experiment 1 participants studied 2, 4, 8, or 16 images of visual objects (set size was manipulated across blocks); these objects were then designated as targets in a subsequent cueing task. Specifically, participants monitored two spatial locations for the appearance of studied objects; shortly beforehand, one of the two locations was cued by either a studied or non-studied object. We observed differences between studied and non-studied cueing effects (ie., an effect of ACSs), and no differences in cueing effects across set size; however response times (RTs) appeared to be influenced by forward masking on cued trials. We examined masking in Experiment 2 by comparing trials with no cues, two studied cues, or two non-studied cues across set sizes. Because both target locations were cued (or not), differences between conditions are unlikely to reflect spatial attention, but should reveal masking effects. Consistent with masking, participants were significantly faster on no-cue trials versus non-studied-cue trials. Interestingly, RTs were even slower for studied-cue trials, and this effect increased with set size. These data provide evidence that episodic-contingent cueing is unaffected by set size, and that studied cues have an additional, non-spatial effect on RTs. That this later effect is mediated by set size, suggests it may be an effect of reflexive long-term memory retrieval on perception.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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