Better target detection in the presence of collinear flankers under high working memory load

De Fockert, J. W. and Leiser, Jaclyn. 2014. Better target detection in the presence of collinear flankers under high working memory load. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 821. ISSN 1662-5161 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

There are multiple ways in which working memory can influence selective attention. Aside from the content-specific effects of working memory on selective attention, whereby attention is more likely to be directed towards information that matches the contents of working memory, the mere level of load on working memory has also been shown to have an effect on selective attention. Specifically, high load on working memory is associated with increased processing of irrelevant information. In most demonstrations of the effect to-date, this has led to impaired target performance, leaving open the possibility that the effect partly reflects an increase in general task difficulty under high load. Here we show that working memory load can result in a performance gain when processing of distracting information aids target performance. The facilitation in the detection of a low-contrast Gabor stimulus in the presence of collinear flanking Gabors was greater when load on a concurrent working memory task was high, compared to low. This finding suggests that working memory can interact with selective attention at an early stage in visual processing.

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working memory, selective attention, target detection, Gabor stimuli, collinear flankers

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25 September 2014Accepted
14 October 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2014 14:55

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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