Selection in spatial working memory is independent of perceptual selective attention, but they interact in a shared spatial priority map

Craig Hedge*, Klaus Oberauer, Ute Leonards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
327 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We examined the relationship between the attentional selection of perceptual information and of information in working memory (WM) through four experiments, using a spatial WM-updating task. Participants remembered the locations of two objects in a matrix and worked through a sequence of updating operations, each mentally shifting one dot to a new location according to an arrow cue. Repeatedly updating the same object in two successive steps is typically faster than switching to the other object; this object switch cost reflects the shifting of attention in WM. In Experiment 1, the arrows were presented in random peripheral locations, drawing perceptual attention away from the selected object in WM. This manipulation did not eliminate the object switch cost, indicating that the mechanisms of perceptual selection do not underlie selection in WM. Experiments 2a and 2b corroborated the independence of selection observed in Experiment 1, but showed a benefit to reaction times when the placement of the arrow cue was aligned with the locations of relevant objects in WM. Experiment 2c showed that the same benefit also occurs when participants are not able to mark an updating location through eye fixations. Together, these data can be accounted for by a framework in which perceptual selection and selection in WM are separate mechanisms that interact through a shared spatial priority map.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2653-2668
Number of pages16
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume77
Issue number8
Early online date4 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Science
  • Visual Perception

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Attention switching
  • Focus of attention
  • Spatial attention
  • Working memory

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