September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Visual Working Memory Capacity Load Does Not Modulate Distractor Processing
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yang Guo
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
  • Nailang Yao
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
  • Yang Liu
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
  • Zaifeng Gao
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
  • Mowei Shen
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
  • Rende Shui
    Department of psychology and behavioral sciences, Zhejiang University
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 103. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.103
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      Yang Guo, Nailang Yao, Yang Liu, Zaifeng Gao, Mowei Shen, Rende Shui; Visual Working Memory Capacity Load Does Not Modulate Distractor Processing. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):103. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.103.

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

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Abstract

In the recent decade, researchers have explored the influence of visual working memory (WM) load on selective attention by focusing on the modulation of visual WM load on distractor processing. However, there are three distinct hypotheses (perceptual load hypothesis, resolution hypothesis, domain-specific hypothesis) with different predictions. The perceptual load hypothesis suggests that visual WM load serves as a type of perceptual load: Higher visual WM load leads to less distractor processing. The resolution hypothesis holds that the visual WM capacity load serves as a type of cognitive load, while visual WM resolution load functions as a type of perceptual load. However, the domain-specific hypothesis claims that visual WM load serves as a type of cognitive load, but only when there is a content overlap between the WM task and the perceptual task. We attempted to figure out the influence of visual WM load on distractor processing by adding a flanker task into the maintenance phase of a visual WM task. We manipulated the parameters of the task settings (including memory array and flanker task, Experiments 1–4), the perceptual load of flanker task (Experiment 5), the content overlap between WM task and flanker task (Experiment 6), and the exposure time of flanker task (Experiments 7–9). However, against all the three hypotheses, we consistently found that the visual WM load did not modulate the distractor processing in nine experiments. The implications of the current finding were discussed.

Acknowledgement: 2016YFE0130400, YJA190005, 31771202, 31571119 
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