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Marjan Persuh, Alexander Rue; Unconscious working memory outside the focus of attention. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):75b. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.75b.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
According to state models, working memory consists of a limited capacity state, called the focus of attention, and the activated long term memory. It is unclear whether objects outside the focus of attention are represented consciously or unconsciously. In two experiments we asked participants to remember images of four objects or animals. A simple distraction task followed. In a free recall task, that immediately followed the distraction task, most participants were able to name three to four items. These results demonstrate that for some participants at least one item was not consciously represented. We then presented participants with color or contextual cues, associated with the remaining item. Across both experiments several participants were able to report the memorized item. These results demonstrate that the item was stored in working memory. Our results show that objects that move outside the focus of attention can be represented in working memory unconsciously.
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