The role of working memory in visual selective attention

De Fockert, J. W.; Rees, Geraint; Frith, Christopher D. and Lavie, Nilli. 2001. The role of working memory in visual selective attention. Science, 291, pp. 1803-1806. ISSN 0036-8075 (print) 1095-9203 (online) [Article]


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Abstract or Description

The hypothesis is that working memory is crucial for reducing distraction by maintaining the prioritization of relevant information was tested in neuroimaging and psychological experiments with humans. Participants performed a selective attention task that required them to ignore distractor faces while holding in working memory a sequence of digits that were in the same order (low memory load) or a different order (high memory load) on every trial. Higher memory load, associated with increased prefrontal activity, resulted in greater interference effects on behavioral performance from the distractor faces, plus increased face-related activity in the visual cortex. These findings confirm a major role for working memory in the control of visual selective attention.

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Working memory; visual selective attention; low memory load; high memory load; distractor faces

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2 March 2001Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2008 13:04

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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