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Jian Guo, Takatsune Kumada; How information in working memory affects attentional control in older and young adults?. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):812. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.812.
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Working memory is used in storage and manipulation of a limited amount of information for present or coming cognitive tasks. Visual attention is used to select relevant information and ignore irrelevant one for a present task. Recent studies have shown interactions between selective attention and visual working memory even when memory items are irrelevant for visual search. In addition, studies of cognitive aging have demonstrated that functions of attention and those of working memory decline with age. However, so far, no study has examined the effect of normal aging on working memory-guided attentional control. In this study, the effect of aging on working memory-guided attentional control was examined by using a typical experimental method which required participants to remember certain items and then search for a target object among distractors. In some trials, one of the distractors was replaced by an item remembered before the search or by an item that was not remembered. The results show that for older adults, working memory items did not capture attention in visual search tasks compared to young adults. In addition, a simplified experiment provided evidence for WM guided attentional control in older adults when interval (in between the memory item display and visual search display) is short. The mechanism behind these findings was discussed and working memory models were modified to indicate the effect of aging on working memory-guided attentional control.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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