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Selection of Visual Objects in Perception and Working Memory One at a Time


Thigpen, Nina; Petro, Nathan M; Oschwald, Jessica; Oberauer, Klaus; Keil, Andreas (2019). Selection of Visual Objects in Perception and Working Memory One at a Time. Psychological Science, 30(9):1259-1272.

Abstract

How does the content of visual working memory influence the way we process the visual environment? We addressed this question using the steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP), which provides a discernible measure of visuocortical activation to multiple stimuli simultaneously. Fifty-six adults were asked to remember a set of two oriented gratings. During the retention interval, two frequency-tagged oriented gratings were presented to probe the visuocortical processing of matching versus mismatching orientations relative to the memory set. Matching probes prompted an increased visuocortical response, whereas mismatching stimuli were suppressed. This suggests that the visual cortex prioritizes attentional selection of memory-relevant features at the expense of non-memory-relevant features. When two memory items were probed simultaneously, visuocortical amplification alternated between the two stimuli at a rate of 3 Hz to 4 Hz, consistent with the rate of attentional sampling of sensory events from the external world. These results suggest a serial, single-item attentional sampling of remembered features.

Abstract

How does the content of visual working memory influence the way we process the visual environment? We addressed this question using the steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP), which provides a discernible measure of visuocortical activation to multiple stimuli simultaneously. Fifty-six adults were asked to remember a set of two oriented gratings. During the retention interval, two frequency-tagged oriented gratings were presented to probe the visuocortical processing of matching versus mismatching orientations relative to the memory set. Matching probes prompted an increased visuocortical response, whereas mismatching stimuli were suppressed. This suggests that the visual cortex prioritizes attentional selection of memory-relevant features at the expense of non-memory-relevant features. When two memory items were probed simultaneously, visuocortical amplification alternated between the two stimuli at a rate of 3 Hz to 4 Hz, consistent with the rate of attentional sampling of sensory events from the external world. These results suggest a serial, single-item attentional sampling of remembered features.

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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 > General Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 September 2019
Deposited On:27 Aug 2019 11:30
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:14
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0956-7976
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619854067
Related URLs:https://osf.io/t6gwf/ (Research Data)
PubMed ID:31322983

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