September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Does visual working memory adapt to the nature of anticipated interference?
Author Affiliations
  • Benchi Wang
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Jan Theeuwes
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Christian Olivers
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 699. doi:10.1167/18.10.699
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      Benchi Wang, Jan Theeuwes, Christian Olivers; Does visual working memory adapt to the nature of anticipated interference?. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):699. doi: 10.1167/18.10.699.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Visual working memory (VWM) is an important memory buffer to briefly store visual information for ongoing tasks. Evidence shows that VWM representations can be protected against interfering input during the maintenance period. In this study, we investigated whether the protection of VWM representations is selective with regards to the anticipated nature of the interference, or whether VWM automatically protects all information in the wake of interference. In two experiments, participants were required to memorize both the color and the orientation of grating pattern for a memory test at the end of a delay period. During the delay period, either an additional color or an additional orientation memory task was presented. Which type of interfering task (color or orientation) would be presented was predictable with 80% likelihood. The results showed that memory for orientation survived orientation interference better when orientation interference was expected than when color interference was expected. Likewise, memory for color survived color interference better when color interference was expected than when orientation interference was expected. We conclude that visual working memory protection is adaptive in that it selectively shields the feature for which it expects the strongest interference.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018

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