Maintaining information in visual working memory: Memory for bindings and memory for features are equally disrupted by increased attentional demands

Evie Vergauwe, Naomi Langerock, Pierre Barrouillet
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 2014, 68 (3): 158-62
This study examined the role of attention in maintaining information between visual features in visual working memory. In a change detection paradigm, two different memory conditions were created: one that required the maintenance of features and one that required the maintenance of how the features were bound together. During the short retention interval that separated the study display and test display, a tone discrimination task was to be performed. The attentional demand of the tone discrimination task was manipulated to test whether memory for binding was more disrupted than memory for features when the proportion of time during which attention is unavailable for maintenance is increased. We observed that memory for features and memory for bindings were equally disrupted by increasing the attentional demands of the tone discrimination task. This suggests that attention does not play a special role in the maintenance of feature bindings in visual working memory.

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