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Lingxia Fan, Xuemin Zhang; Both bottom-up and top-down control influence multiple working memory-driven attentional selection. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):676. doi: 10.1167/18.10.676.
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Recent work shows that when two items are maintained in visual working memory (VWM), only the item on active state can guide attention, while the accessory item cannot. Thus, it raises significant questions that what factors determine which memory representation is currently active and can there exist two active templates in VWM at a time. With two experiments, we showed that bottom-up physical salience of item features and top-down retro-cue could jointly determine the status of VWM representations, making them active to guide attention in the search task simultaneously. In Experiment 1, participants were required to complete a visual search task while holding one color and one shape in VWM during the process. Color, shape or the conjunction of color and shape matched one of the search distractors or not. Slower RTs were found when color or conjunction of color and shape matched one of the search distractors but not for the shape match condition, indicating that color with higher salience in VWM can win the priority position to guide attention while the less salient shape cannot. In Experiment 2, we further investigated that whether two features with different salience in VWM could simultaneously guide attention when the less salient feature was prioritized through a retro-cue. The procedure was similar with Experiment 1 except that color or shape in VWM was cued to be more task-relevant after encoding. Results showed that both color and shape produced interference effects on search in shape-cue trials, demonstrating that feature with higher salience and the feature with less salience but prioritized by a retro-cue in VWM can concurrently be active templates to impact attentional selection. Therefore, both bottom-up and top-down control influence multiple VWM-driven attentional selection.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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