Exogenous temporal cues enhance recognition memory in an object-based manner

Junji Ohyama, Katsumi Watanabe
Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 2010, 72 (8): 2157-67
Exogenous attention enhances the perception of attended items in both a space-based and an object-based manner. Exogenous attention also improves recognition memory for attended items in the space-based mode. However, it has not been examined whether object-based exogenous attention enhances recognition memory. To address this issue, we examined whether a sudden visual change in a task-irrelevant stimulus (an exogenous cue) would affect participants' recognition memory for items that were serially presented around a cued time. The results showed that recognition accuracy for an item was strongly enhanced when the visual cue occurred at the same location and time as the item (Experiments 1 and 2). The memory enhancement effect occurred when the exogenous visual cue and an item belonged to the same object (Experiments 3 and 4) and even when the cue was counterpredictive of the timing of an item to be asked about (Experiment 5). The present study suggests that an exogenous temporal cue automatically enhances the recognition accuracy for an item that is presented at close temporal proximity to the cue and that recognition memory enhancement occurs in an object-based manner.

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