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Attention in working memory: attention is needed but it yearns to be free.

Authors
  • Rhodes, Stephen1
  • Cowan, Nelson1
  • 1 Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2018
Volume
1424
Issue
1
Pages
52–63
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13652
PMID: 29741275
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Recent theoretical development of working memory has emphasized the role of attention in several active processes supporting maintenance. Although this development is certainly welcome and has accounted for a number of phenomena, there are findings that cannot be readily accounted for through the active use of attention in refreshing or removal of information. We review these findings and suggest that, whenever the circumstances allow, participants attempt to reduce the load on attention by making use of stored concepts in long-term memory (LTM) or off-loading new configurations, forming new long-term memories. Newly formed groups and configurations in LTM constitute a list- or array-wide version of the consolidation of information into memory to prevent forgetting in a manner that reduces the need for continued attention to the material. This suggestion leads to a number of interesting questions at the behavioral and neural levels, which we also discuss. © 2018 New York Academy of Sciences.

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