What drives memory-driven attentional capture? The effects of memory type, display type, and search type

Christian N L Olivers
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance 2009, 35 (5): 1275-91
An important question is whether visual attention (the ability to select relevant visual information) and visual working memory (the ability to retain relevant visual information) share the same content representations. Some past research has indicated that they do: Singleton distractors interfered more strongly with a visual search task when they were identical or related to the object held in memory. However, other research has failed to find such effects despite using very similar procedures. The present study, using the same combined working memory and attentional capture paradigm, demonstrates which factors do (varied mapping, low stimulus energy) and which factors do not (exact type of visual memory method used, difficult nature of search, heterogeneity of displays, and instruction) contribute to this discrepancy.

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