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Edyta Sasin, Mark Nieuwenstein; Forget Me if You Can: Attentional capture by to-be-remembered and to-be-forgotten visual stimuli. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):309. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.12.309.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research has shown that visual attention is biased towards items that match the content of working memory (WM). Here, we investigated whether attention is still guided towards matching items after an instruction to forget them. Participants memorized a colored shape, which was followed by a cue that indicated whether it should be remembered or forgotten. Subsequently, participants searched for a tilted line among vertical distractor lines, each embedded within a colored shape. The interval between the cue and the visual search task was 200, 600, 1000 or 1400 ms and on some trials, one of the distractors in the search task matched the earlier-memorized object. The results showed that the matching distractor captured attention regardless of whether it had to be remembered or forgotten, but the capture effect by to-be-forgotten distractors was smaller. In addition, the capture effects were independent on the interval separating the cue and the search array. Taken together, these results suggest that an instruction to forget an earlier-memorized object attenuates but does not fully abolish memory-driven capture.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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