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Kristina Krasich, Andrew Clement, Cary Stothart, James Brockmole; Does Memory Consolidation Influence Memory-Driven Attentional Capture?. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):948. doi: 10.1167/17.10.948.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To guide attention during visual search, observers must maintain a visual working memory (VWM) representation of the search target. Distractors often capture attention when they share features with this representation (or with other items in VWM). However, distractors are less likely to capture attention when they appear frequently across trials, suggesting that across multiple presentations items become consolidated in long-term memory (LTM) and deprioritized for attentional selection. Here, we assessed whether simply maintaining a VWM representation for an extended period of time, which allows for consolidation processes to stabilize the memory trace, would also reduce capture. Participants remembered a colored circle for 0s, .25s, .5s, 2.5s, 5s, or 10s, then searched for a target letter among colored distractors. They then reported the remembered item in a subsequent memory test. Notably, participants were slower to identify the target letter when a singleton distractor in the search display matched the color of the memory item. This effect occurred even at the longest time delays, suggesting that the time spent maintaining a single VWM representation does not change how attention is guided. In a second experiment, participants completed 30s of math problems prior to the search task, which served to disrupt VWM consolidation. Participants were slower to identify the target letter when a distractor matching the memory item was present, but only at longer time delays (>2.5s). This demonstrates that capture persists when there is sufficient time for VWM representations to be consolidated into LTM. In contrast to frequent presentation, findings suggest that increasing the time in which a VWM representation is maintained and consolidated into LTM does not reduce attentional capture.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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