December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
The linear impact of visual working memory load on visual awareness: Evidence from motion-induced blindness
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jiahan Yu
    Zhejiang University
  • Yiling Zhou
    Zhejiang University
  • Mowei Shen
    Zhejiang University
  • Hui Chen
    Zhejiang University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This work was supported by grants from National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Zhejiang Province, China (No. LR19C090002), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 32171046) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2021FZZX001-06).
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3411. doi:
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      Jiahan Yu, Yiling Zhou, Mowei Shen, Hui Chen; The linear impact of visual working memory load on visual awareness: Evidence from motion-induced blindness. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3411.

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

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Despite the intimate relationship between visual working memory (VWM) and visual awareness, the question of how these two constructs interact with each other is still under debate. The current study sought to further clarify the nature of their relationship by investigating whether and how visual awareness is influenced by VWM load. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to perform a motion-induced blindness (MIB) task while simultaneously memorizing different numbers of items in VWM. The results showed that visual awareness was modulated by VWM load as the latency of MIB prolonged gradually as the VWM load increased and this modulation effect operated in a linear fashion. In Experiment 2, it is found that the visual working memory load does not affect the detection speed of the physical disappearance of the dot, eliminating the possibility that the modulation effect in Experiment 1 arose from the influence of VWM load on response criterion and/or cognitive speed.. Experiment 3 revealed that the modulation effect disappeared when asking participants only to report the number of items rather than maintaining them in their VWM, which ruled out another possibility that the observed modulation effect arose from some low-level mechanisms (e.g., physical differences due to different numbers of items, or processing load differences under different conditions). The above experiments showed that visual working memory load modulate the latency in MIB task in a linear manner. These findings have important implications for a better understanding of the nature of the relationship between visual awareness and VWM.


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