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Attention on our mind: the role of spatial attention in visual working memory Theeuwes, J., Kramer, A. F. & Irwin, D. E. (2011). Acta Psychologica, 137,

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Presentation on theme: "Attention on our mind: the role of spatial attention in visual working memory Theeuwes, J., Kramer, A. F. & Irwin, D. E. (2011). Acta Psychologica, 137,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Attention on our mind: the role of spatial attention in visual working memory Theeuwes, J., Kramer, A. F. & Irwin, D. E. (2011). Acta Psychologica, 137,

2 Take-home message Spatial visual attention is used to retrieve information from visual working memory.

3 Introduction Visual attention: the mechanism by which we select visual information relevant to everyday behavior. Working memory: the mechanism by which we temporarily retain visual information relevant to everyday behavior. How do they interact?

4 Previous research For visuo-spatial memory, there is a close link between working memory and visual attention. (Awh & Jonides, 2001; Auh, Jonides, & Reuter-Lorenz, 1998) Attending to a location improves the processing of information at that location. (Posner, 1980) When attention to memorized locations is interrupted, the ability to remember these location is impaired. (Belopolsky & Theeuwes, 2009)

5 However, … Attention may not only be needed to maintain information, but also be necessary to get information into working memory. Attention controls the transfer of perceptual representations into visual working memory. (Bundsen, 1990; Duncan and Humphreys, 1989) What is the role of spatial attention in retrieving information from visual working memory?

6 Method

7 Expectation If observers shift spatial attention to the location that previously contained the relevant information on expects faster probe RTs when the location of the probe coincides with the location in memory than when the probe does not.

8 Procedure 1000 ms blank

9 Design

10 Result RT < 900 ms Only 93.3% of all trials in which both color matching and probe detection were correct were analyzed (6.2 %) (5.6 %)

11 Discussion Current result are consistent with following researches: 1.Observers were more likely to attend to a face matching the one they were required to hold in memory, relative to a novel face. (Downing, 2000) 2.Objects kept in working memory cause more attentional capture than those weren’t stored. (Olivers, Meijer, & Theeuwes, 2006) 3.Spatial attention increases the probability for the item to enter visual working memory. (Schmidt et al., 2000) 4.Strong relationship between attention, eye movement and working memory. (Awh et al, 1998)

12 Discussion Current findings further elaborate the role of visual attention in working memory: Not only is attention the vehicle to keep and store information into working memory, it is also the vehicle by which information is retrieved from visual working memory.

13 Discussion Unlike previous research, participants did not have to memorize any location. Current probe benefits seem to depend on the verbal suppression. Important interaction between what and where pathways in the visual system: the “where” system was used to retrieve the “what”.

14 Discussion Accessing information from memory is not mush different than accessing information from the outside world. In both cases spatial visual attention plays a key role in accessing this information.

15 Thank you for listening


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