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Why does the probe value effect emerge in working memory? Examining the biased attentional refreshing account


Atkinson, Amy L; Oberauer, Klaus; Allen, Richard J; Souza, Alessandra S (2022). Why does the probe value effect emerge in working memory? Examining the biased attentional refreshing account. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 29(3):891-900.

Abstract

People are able to prioritize more valuable information in working memory. The current study examined whether this value effect is due to the items of greater value being refreshed more than lower-value items during maintenance. To assess this possibility, we combined a probe value manipulation with a guided-refreshing procedure. Arrays of colored shapes were presented, and after a brief delay, participants reported the color of one randomly probed shape on a continuous color wheel. To manipulate probe value, one item was indicated as more valuable than the rest prior to encoding (i.e., worth more notional points), or all items were indicated as equally valuable. To guide refreshing, in some trials, two arrows were presented during maintenance, each arrow cueing the spatial location of one item. Participants were told to "think of" (i.e., refresh) the cued item. If value boosts are driven by attentional refreshing, cueing an item to be refreshed should enhance performance for items that are of low or equal value, but not items of high value, as these items would be refreshed regardless of the cue. This pattern of outcomes was observed, providing support for the hypothesis that attentional refreshing at least partially accounts for probe value effects in working memory.

Abstract

People are able to prioritize more valuable information in working memory. The current study examined whether this value effect is due to the items of greater value being refreshed more than lower-value items during maintenance. To assess this possibility, we combined a probe value manipulation with a guided-refreshing procedure. Arrays of colored shapes were presented, and after a brief delay, participants reported the color of one randomly probed shape on a continuous color wheel. To manipulate probe value, one item was indicated as more valuable than the rest prior to encoding (i.e., worth more notional points), or all items were indicated as equally valuable. To guide refreshing, in some trials, two arrows were presented during maintenance, each arrow cueing the spatial location of one item. Participants were told to "think of" (i.e., refresh) the cued item. If value boosts are driven by attentional refreshing, cueing an item to be refreshed should enhance performance for items that are of low or equal value, but not items of high value, as these items would be refreshed regardless of the cue. This pattern of outcomes was observed, providing support for the hypothesis that attentional refreshing at least partially accounts for probe value effects in working memory.

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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 > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:1 June 2022
Deposited On:02 May 2022 12:59
Last Modified:26 Feb 2024 02:53
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1069-9384
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-022-02056-6
PubMed ID:35091995
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)