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The Role of Long-Term Memory in a Test of Visual Working Memory: Proactive Facilitation but No Proactive Interference - Zurich Open Repository and Archive


Oberauer, Klaus; Awh, Edward; Sutterer, David W (2017). The Role of Long-Term Memory in a Test of Visual Working Memory: Proactive Facilitation but No Proactive Interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(1):1-22.

Abstract

We report 4 experiments examining whether associations in visual working memory are subject to proactive interference from long-term memory (LTM). Following a long-term learning phase in which participants learned the colors of 120 unique objects, a working memory (WM) test was administered in which participants recalled the precise colors of 3 concrete objects in an array. Each array in the WM test consisted of 1 old (previously learned) object with a new color (old-mismatch), 1 old object with its old color (old-match), and 1 new object. Experiments 1 to 3 showed that WM performance was better in the old-match condition than in the new condition, reflecting a beneficial contribution from LTM. In the old-mismatch condition, participants sometimes reported colors associated with the relevant shape in LTM, but the probability of successful recall was equivalent to that in the new condition. Thus, information from LTM only intruded in the absence of reportable information in WM. Experiment 4 tested for, and failed to find, proactive interference from the preceding trial in the WM test: Performance in the old-mismatch condition, presenting an object from the preceding trial with a new color, was equal to performance with new objects. Experiment 5 showed that long-term memory for object-color associations is subject to proactive interference. We conclude that the exchange of information between LTM and WM appears to be controlled by a gating mechanism that protects the contents of WM from proactive interference but admits LTM information when it is useful. (PsycINFO Database Record

Abstract

We report 4 experiments examining whether associations in visual working memory are subject to proactive interference from long-term memory (LTM). Following a long-term learning phase in which participants learned the colors of 120 unique objects, a working memory (WM) test was administered in which participants recalled the precise colors of 3 concrete objects in an array. Each array in the WM test consisted of 1 old (previously learned) object with a new color (old-mismatch), 1 old object with its old color (old-match), and 1 new object. Experiments 1 to 3 showed that WM performance was better in the old-match condition than in the new condition, reflecting a beneficial contribution from LTM. In the old-mismatch condition, participants sometimes reported colors associated with the relevant shape in LTM, but the probability of successful recall was equivalent to that in the new condition. Thus, information from LTM only intruded in the absence of reportable information in WM. Experiment 4 tested for, and failed to find, proactive interference from the preceding trial in the WM test: Performance in the old-mismatch condition, presenting an object from the preceding trial with a new color, was equal to performance with new objects. Experiment 5 showed that long-term memory for object-color associations is subject to proactive interference. We conclude that the exchange of information between LTM and WM appears to be controlled by a gating mechanism that protects the contents of WM from proactive interference but admits LTM information when it is useful. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2017
Deposited On:19 Oct 2016 08:59
Last Modified:04 Jan 2017 02:02
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0278-7393
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000302
PubMed ID:27685018

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