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Kirk Ballew, Alejandro Lleras, Simona Buetti; An individual difference examination of the relationship between spatial working memory abilities and contextual cueing.. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):809. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.809.
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Contextual cueing is the facilitation of visual search via exposure to repeated displays in which distractor locations are predictive of the target location. Reaction times decrease more over time for repeated displays than for displays in which distractor locations change across blocks (Chun & Jiang, 1998). Recently, this effect was shown to be dependent upon visuospatial working memory (VWM). When VWM was loaded up by tasks run concurrently with the contextual cueing paradigm, the typical benefit of repeated displays was reduced or eliminated (Manginelli, Geringswald, & Pollman, 2012; Travis, Mattingley, & Dux, 2013). We hypothesized that, if VWM underlies the contextual cueing effect, then individual differences in VWM will determine the magnitude of the effect. Toward that end, we developed four tasks to measure VWM and compared individual differences on these measures to performance on the standard contextual cueing task. Two of the tasks were based on the Corsi Blocks task (Alloway & Cockcroft, 2014). In the serial version, participants were asked to remember, and subsequently identify in order, sets of spatial locations presented serially within a grid. Set size increased across trials. The simultaneous version was identical to the serial task, except that the locations appeared simultaneously and response order did not matter. We also used two change detection tasks. In the first task, participants were asked to detect changes between pairs of displays containing seventeen spatial locations arrayed within a grid. In the second task, participants were asked to detect changes between pairs of displays containing four dots arrayed along an invisible circle. Finally, we also included a measure of general visual ability (developed by Richler, Wilmer & Gauthier, 2017). The findings are discussed in terms of the different underlying memory constructs that contribute to learning the subtle display configurations, and produce the Contextual Cueing benefit.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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