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Revisiting the attentional demands of rehearsal in working-memory tasks


Thalmann, Mirko; Souza, Alessandra S; Oberauer, Klaus (2019). Revisiting the attentional demands of rehearsal in working-memory tasks. Journal of Memory & Language, 105:1-18.

Abstract

There is a recent surge of interest in maintenance processes in working memory, such as articulatory rehearsal, elaboration, and attentional refreshing. Yet, we know little about the central attentional demand of these processes. It has been assumed that articulatory rehearsal does not require central attention at all (Vergauwe, Camos, & Barrouillet, 2014), being in essence a cost-free strategy. In contrast, elaboration and attentional refreshing are assumed to incur large and continuous costs on central attention. We tested these assumptions in three experiments in which participants were presented with a varying number of words to rehearse. Participants were instructed to rehearse the words aloud, or to elaborate them by creating interactive images. Attentional refreshing was examined in a condition in which words were to be maintained during articulatory suppression. During retention participants carried out a series of choice reaction tasks, which were used to measure central attentional demands of the maintenance strategies. Articulatory rehearsal had costs on processing RTs that lasted for 10 s. Maintenance of words during articulatory suppression did not yield persistent costs on central attention, implying that participants did not continuously refresh the words. Finally, the current results cast doubt on the idea that elaboration requires central attention for an extended period of time.

Abstract

There is a recent surge of interest in maintenance processes in working memory, such as articulatory rehearsal, elaboration, and attentional refreshing. Yet, we know little about the central attentional demand of these processes. It has been assumed that articulatory rehearsal does not require central attention at all (Vergauwe, Camos, & Barrouillet, 2014), being in essence a cost-free strategy. In contrast, elaboration and attentional refreshing are assumed to incur large and continuous costs on central attention. We tested these assumptions in three experiments in which participants were presented with a varying number of words to rehearse. Participants were instructed to rehearse the words aloud, or to elaborate them by creating interactive images. Attentional refreshing was examined in a condition in which words were to be maintained during articulatory suppression. During retention participants carried out a series of choice reaction tasks, which were used to measure central attentional demands of the maintenance strategies. Articulatory rehearsal had costs on processing RTs that lasted for 10 s. Maintenance of words during articulatory suppression did not yield persistent costs on central attention, implying that participants did not continuously refresh the words. Finally, the current results cast doubt on the idea that elaboration requires central attention for an extended period of time.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Physical Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
Uncontrolled Keywords:Linguistics and Language, Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology, Language and Linguistics DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:1 April 2019
Deposited On:18 Dec 2018 16:02
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 08:33
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0749-596X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.10.005
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100014_149193
  • : Project TitleThe Role of Rehearsal in Working Memory

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