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Visual Working Memory Content Affects Visual Attention

Visual Working Memory Content Affects Visual Attention. By: Quinn, Jenna, and Emily. Key Definitions. Visual Attention : the ability to select relevant visual information Visual working memory : the ability to retain relevant visual information

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Visual Working Memory Content Affects Visual Attention

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  1. Visual Working Memory Content Affects Visual Attention By: Quinn, Jenna, and Emily

  2. Key Definitions • Visual Attention: the ability to select relevant visual information • Visual working memory: the ability to retain relevant visual information • Attentional capture: objects that are drawn into the focus of our visual field

  3. Research Purpose • The experiments were to test whether objects held in memory affect attention; such as color and shape. • Researchers looked at both of these qualities of individual features and as a whole.

  4. Previous Research • If an image is held in mind it causes interference in trying to locate a target in a sequence task. • Found in shapes, colors, and paired objects

  5. Limitations • Participant bias • More apt to look at certain areas because they are think it is going to help them towards the end of the experiment • Priming effects • Inducing an image in the mind may itself be enough to cause interference/prioritization without it actually being because of working-memory • With paired objects we are primed to associated them, so we can automatically be more drawn to those objects

  6. Methods: Experiment 1 • Subjects were presented with a color disc • 9 distractor discs • One diamond • Choose N or M in the diamond as quickly as possible • Three color discs were presented • Subject chooses originally presented color disc. • Only for memory condition

  7. The purpose of experiment 1 was to obtain an initial test of memory-driven attentional-capture, and try to provide a control for priming effects by having a “viewing-without-remembering condition”. • Method: • 19 subjects- university students • Basic Search Task: No memory condition 32 trials, then memory condition another 32 trials. After practice, four blocks of each condition ( no memory vs. memory) in alternating order. Experiment 1

  8. Results: Experiment 1 • Singleton distractors capture attention • No signs of priming effects • The no-memory condition had no increased distractor effect for matching singletons related to unmatched • Increased singleton distractor effect was blind to specific color held in memory • Failed to represent memory-driven attentional capture • Possibly because memory item could be easily remembered verbally and not visually?

  9. Representation: Experiment 1

  10. Methods: Experiment 2 • The same as experiment 1 in verbal condition minus the no memory condition. • A more visual condition was performed • Memory test: differentiate memorized shade of color between other shades of the same color.

  11. Experiment 2 • They created experiment 2 in order to make subjects use visual working memory and to see if visual capture depends on visual working memory. • Method: • Subjects: 30, practiced the more verbal task for 32 trials then visual task for 32 trials, first trial: six blocks of 32 trials, second: 12 blocks of 32 trials

  12. Results: Experiment 2 • Provides evidence that memory drives attention • Confound: Could be observers realizing distractor being the item to be remembered • Interference increased same distractors relative to unrelated or absent distractors • Relative to more verbal memory condition • Priming may play some role

  13. Representation: Experiment 2

  14. Methods: Experiment 4 • This was the same as the previous experiments, just with colors and shapes. • Always had a to be remembered item with specific color and shape • Distractors • Unrelated • Color related • Shape related • Both related

  15. Experiment 4 • Purpose: If people remember features of objects or the entire object. Color, shape, or both. • Methods: • Subjects: 22, two practice blocks of 16 trials for each of the two memory conditions (color/shape) each condition two experimental blocks. 16 trials per distractor, unrelated had 48 trials. 384 total trials.

  16. Results: Experiment 4 • Visual working memory can select specific features of an attended object • Retain color when it’s important and shape when that’s important, the other attribute can be ignored. • Does not mean the irrelevant feature is not activated at all.

  17. Representation: Experiment 4

  18. General Discussion • Working memory load leads to overall increased interference from distractor in visual search task • Like visual attention, visual working memory can prioritize one feature over the other

  19. Questions?

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