Working Memory Capacity and Visual Attention: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Guidance

Zach Shipstead, Tyler L. Harrison, Randall W. Engle
2012 Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology  
Previous studies have indicated that working memory capacity (WMC) is related to visual attention when selection of critical information must be made in the face of distraction. The present study examines whether WMC-related differences in flanker task performance might be decreased by displays that are designed to support bottom-up guidance of attention. Participants were required to respond to a centrally located target while ignoring a peripheral flanker. In one condition, bottom-up support
more » ... bottom-up support was provided by embedding the target in a row of zeros. In another condition, the zeros were removed, thus emphasizing the role of top-down attention in selecting spatially defined information. It was found that the inclusion of zeros led to the elimination of WMC-related flanker effects. We conclude that bottom-up attentional guidance can attenuate the role of WMC in selective attention.
doi:10.1080/17470218.2012.655698 pmid:22404647 fatcat:aag2pm34xvbjbkg22mqbngbo7m