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Accessing information in working memory: Can the focus of attention grasp two elements at the same time?


Oberauer, Klaus; Bialkova, S (2009). Accessing information in working memory: Can the focus of attention grasp two elements at the same time? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138(1):64-87.

Abstract

Processing information in working memory requires selective access to a subset of working-memory contents by a focus of attention. Complex cognition often requires joint access to 2 items in working memory. How does the focus select 2 items? Two experiments with an arithmetic task and 1 with a spatial task investigate time demands for successive operations that involve 2 digits or 2 spatial positions, respectively. When both items used in an operation have been used in the preceding operation, latencies are shortened. No such repetition benefit (arithmetic) or a much smaller benefit (spatial) was found when only 1 item was repeated. The results rule out serial access to the 2 items, parallel access by expanding the focus, and parallel access by splitting the focus. They support the notion that 2 items are accessed by chunking them, so that they fit a focus limited to 1 chunk. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

Abstract

Processing information in working memory requires selective access to a subset of working-memory contents by a focus of attention. Complex cognition often requires joint access to 2 items in working memory. How does the focus select 2 items? Two experiments with an arithmetic task and 1 with a spatial task investigate time demands for successive operations that involve 2 digits or 2 spatial positions, respectively. When both items used in an operation have been used in the preceding operation, latencies are shortened. No such repetition benefit (arithmetic) or a much smaller benefit (spatial) was found when only 1 item was repeated. The results rule out serial access to the 2 items, parallel access by expanding the focus, and parallel access by splitting the focus. They support the notion that 2 items are accessed by chunking them, so that they fit a focus limited to 1 chunk. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:attention, working memory, relations
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:21 Oct 2009 09:08
Last Modified:07 Apr 2017 15:05
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0096-3445
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014738

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