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Koki Ikeda, Motoyuki Sanada, Toshikazu Hasegawa; Reexamining the Attention Rehearsal Hypothesis of Spatial Working Memory Maintenance. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):945. doi: 10.1167/15.12.945.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It has been argued that the maintenance of spatial working memory contents is carried out by sustained activity of selective spatial attention that focuses on the specific locations at which the working memory items are presented (Awh et al., 1998). This attention-based rehearsal hypothesis, however, remains controversial (Belopolsky and Theeuwes, 2009). The current study re-examined this hypothesis using both behavioral and ERP measures of spatial attention. The behavioral experiment was an approximate replication of previous studies, whereas the ERP experiments further examined whether the retained attention, if it existed, was actively maintained or a mere passive after-effect of the encoding process. As in previous ERP studies, task-irrelevant probes were used to elicit the P1/N1 attention effect. Results showed that spatial attention was allocated to the to-be-remembered locations during the retention period, although this was not reliably detected by the behavioral index. Moreover, attention strength was unchanged even when a visual search task that presumably induced an additional workload was concurrently administered. These data indicate that an active, top-down, and location-specific maintenance of spatial attention is in fact at work during spatial working memory retention, although its functional significance is still not completely confirmed.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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