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Where to attend next: guiding refreshing of visual, spatial, and verbal representations in working memory


Souza, Alessandra S; Vergauwe, Evie; Oberauer, Klaus (2018). Where to attend next: guiding refreshing of visual, spatial, and verbal representations in working memory. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1424(1):76-90.

Abstract

One of the functions that attention may serve in working memory (WM) is boosting information accessibility, a mechanism known as attentional refreshing. Refreshing is assumed to be a domain-general process operating on visual, spatial, and verbal representations alike. So far, few studies have directly manipulated refreshing of individual WM representations to measure the WM benefits of refreshing. Recently, a guided-refreshing method was developed, which consists of presenting cues during the retention interval of a WM task to instruct people to refresh (i.e., attend to) the cued items. Using a continuous-color reconstruction task, previous studies demonstrated that the error in reporting a color varies linearly with the frequency with which it was refreshed. Here, we extend this approach to assess the WM benefits of refreshing different representation types, from colors to spatial locations and words. Across six experiments, we show that refreshing frequency modulates performance in all stimulus domains in accordance with the tenet that refreshing is a domain-general process in WM. The benefits of refreshing were, however, larger for visual-spatial than verbal materials.

Abstract

One of the functions that attention may serve in working memory (WM) is boosting information accessibility, a mechanism known as attentional refreshing. Refreshing is assumed to be a domain-general process operating on visual, spatial, and verbal representations alike. So far, few studies have directly manipulated refreshing of individual WM representations to measure the WM benefits of refreshing. Recently, a guided-refreshing method was developed, which consists of presenting cues during the retention interval of a WM task to instruct people to refresh (i.e., attend to) the cued items. Using a continuous-color reconstruction task, previous studies demonstrated that the error in reporting a color varies linearly with the frequency with which it was refreshed. Here, we extend this approach to assess the WM benefits of refreshing different representation types, from colors to spatial locations and words. Across six experiments, we show that refreshing frequency modulates performance in all stimulus domains in accordance with the tenet that refreshing is a domain-general process in WM. The benefits of refreshing were, however, larger for visual-spatial than verbal materials.

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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
Language:English
Date:23 April 2018
Deposited On:12 Sep 2018 11:36
Last Modified:01 Oct 2019 11:37
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0077-8923
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13621
PubMed ID:29683504

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