Dimension-based working memory-driven capture of visual selection

Yi Pan, Baihua Xu, David Soto
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: QJEP 2009, 62 (6): 1123-31
We studied attentional capture by dimensional cueing of visual objects. Participants received two dimension cues, one relevant for a memory test and the other relevant for an attention test. Performance in the attention task was impaired on incongruent trials (i.e., when the relevant dimensions for memory and attention did not match) relative to congruent trials. Dimensional cueing effects were enhanced when the cued dimension was held "online" in working memory through the trial, compared to when the cued dimension did not have to be held in memory. The findings demonstrate that dimensional cueing of visual selection can occur in a largely automatic manner, with working memory exerting a strong modulatory influence. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the interaction between memory and attention.

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