JOURNAL ARTICLE

The relationship between visual working memory and attention: retention of precise colour information in the absence of effects on perceptual selection

Andrew Hollingworth, Seongmin Hwang
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 2013 October 19, 368 (1628): 20130061
24018723
We examined the conditions under which a feature value in visual working memory (VWM) recruits visual attention to matching stimuli. Previous work has suggested that VWM supports two qualitatively different states of representation: an active state that interacts with perceptual selection and a passive (or accessory) state that does not. An alternative hypothesis is that VWM supports a single form of representation, with the precision of feature memory controlling whether or not the representation interacts with perceptual selection. The results of three experiments supported the dual-state hypothesis. We established conditions under which participants retained a relatively precise representation of a parcticular colour. If the colour was immediately task relevant, it reliably recruited attention to matching stimuli. However, if the colour was not immediately task relevant, it failed to interact with perceptual selection. Feature maintenance in VWM is not necessarily equivalent with feature-based attentional selection.

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