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Where to attend next: guiding refreshing of visual, spatial, and verbal representations in working memory.

Authors
  • Souza, Alessandra S1
  • Vergauwe, Evie2
  • Oberauer, Klaus1
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 2 Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
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
76–90
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13621
PMID: 29683504
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

One of the functions that attention may serve in working memory (WM) is boosting information accessibility, a mechanism known as attentional refreshing. Refreshing is assumed to be a domain-general process operating on visual, spatial, and verbal representations alike. So far, few studies have directly manipulated refreshing of individual WM representations to measure the WM benefits of refreshing. Recently, a guided-refreshing method was developed, which consists of presenting cues during the retention interval of a WM task to instruct people to refresh (i.e., attend to) the cued items. Using a continuous-color reconstruction task, previous studies demonstrated that the error in reporting a color varies linearly with the frequency with which it was refreshed. Here, we extend this approach to assess the WM benefits of refreshing different representation types, from colors to spatial locations and words. Across six experiments, we show that refreshing frequency modulates performance in all stimulus domains in accordance with the tenet that refreshing is a domain-general process in WM. The benefits of refreshing were, however, larger for visual-spatial than verbal materials. © 2018 New York Academy of Sciences.

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