September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Involuntary and voluntary processes compete for entering focus of attention of working memory
Author Affiliations
  • Jiaofeng Li
    Zhejiang University
  • Huayu Liao
    Zhejiang University
  • Mowei Shen
    Zhejiang University
  • Zaifeng Gao
    Zhejiang University
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2494. doi:
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      Jiaofeng Li, Huayu Liao, Mowei Shen, Zaifeng Gao; Involuntary and voluntary processes compete for entering focus of attention of working memory. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2494.

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

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Representations in focus of attention (FOA) of working memory (WM) have the highest activation state and processing privilege. There are two distinct ways for representations entering FOA: Involuntary and voluntary processes. While extensive WM studies had investigated the two processes, the two processes have been largely examined separately. There are situations that the two processes co-exist but have distinct targets in a task, resulting in FOA competition between the two processes. It remains unclear the underlying competition mechanism. We examined this issue by using a color singleton cue in memory array to evoke an involuntary process and a retro-cue in the WM maintenance phase to initiate a voluntary process. We investigated whether and how the singleton benefit was modulated by the retro-cue when they had distinct targets. In three experiments, we consistently found that the item with a stronger cue enters FOA: Singleton benefit is erased by a strong retro-cue but not a weak retro-cue. These results together suggest that involuntary and voluntary processes compete for a limited capacity of FOA, and the stronger process will win the competition in guiding an item into FOA.


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