Attentional guidance by working memory differs by paradigm: an individual-differences approach.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The contents of working memory (WM) have been repeatedly found to guide the allocation of visual attention; in a dual-task paradigm that combines WM and visual search, actively holding an item in WM biases visual attention towards memory-matching items during search (e.g., Soto et al., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(2), 248-261, 2005). A key debate is whether such memory-based attentional guidance is automatic or under strategic control. Generally, two distinct task paradigms have been employed to assess memory-based guidance, one demonstrating that attention is involuntarily captured by memory-matching stimuli even at a cost to search performance (Soto et al., 2005), and one demonstrating that participants can strategically avoid memory-matching distractors to facilitate search performance (Woodman & Luck, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33(2), 363-377, 2007). The current study utilized an individual-differences approach to examine why the different paradigms--which presumably tap into the same attentional construct--might support contrasting interpretations. Participants completed a battery of cognitive tasks, including two types of attentional guidance paradigms (see Soto et al., 2005; Woodman & Luck, 2007), a visual WM task, and an operation span task, as well as attention-related self-report assessments. Performance on the two attentional guidance paradigms did not correlate. Subsequent exploratory regression analyses revealed that memory-based guidance in each task was differentially predicted by visual WM capacity for one paradigm, and by attention-related assessment scores for the other paradigm. The current results suggest that these two paradigms--which have previously produced contrasting patterns of performance--may probe distinct aspects of attentional guidance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dowd, EW; Kiyonaga, A; Egner, T; Mitroff, SR

Published Date

  • April 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 704 - 712

PubMed ID

  • 25737257

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25737257

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-393X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1943-3921

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3758/s13414-015-0847-z


  • eng