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An examination of refreshing in between-category sequences

  • Langerock, Naomi
  • Wisniewski, David
  • Brass, Marcel
  • Vergauwe, Evie
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13702
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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The present study focused on refreshing within a working memory (WM) context. Refreshing refers to the mechanism that brings back information into the focus of attention in order to counteract forgetting of memory traces. Despite some research on this topic, the exact nature of refreshing remains unclear. The present study investigated refreshing by means of the cognitive load (CL) effect. This effect is typically observed in complex span tasks, which combine processing and storage demands. It refers to the observation that WM performance depends on the CL of concurrent processing, defined as the proportion of time between list items that is occupied by concurrent processing and therefore not available to refresh memory items. Traditionally, the CL effect has been demonstrated using within-category memory sequences in which all memory items are drawn from one category (e.g., all words). Here, we show that the CL effect also applies to between-category memory sequences in which memory items are drawn from different categories (e.g., words, orientations, faces, etc.). The ensemble of the results adds to the domain-generality of the CL effect. Implications concerning the specific nature of refreshing and future research directions are discussed.

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