Evidence for two attentional components in visual working memory

Richard J. Allen, Alan D. Baddeley, Graham J. Hitch
2014 Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition  
How does executive attentional control contribute to memory for sequences of visual objects, and what does this reveal about storage and processing in working memory? Three experiments examined the impact of a concurrent executive load (backward counting) on memory for sequences of individually presented visual objects. Experiments 1 and 2 found disruptive concurrent load effects of equivalent magnitude on memory for shapes, colors, and colored shape conjunctions (as measured by single-probe
more » ... ognition). Crucially, these effects were only present for items 1 and 2 in a 3-item sequence; the final item was always impervious to this disruption. This pattern of findings was precisely replicated in Experiment 3 using a cued verbal recall measure of shape-color binding, with error analysis providing additional insights concerning attention-related loss of early-sequence items. These findings indicate an important role for executive processes in maintaining representations of earlier encountered stimuli in an active form alongside privileged storage of the most recent stimulus.
doi:10.1037/xlm0000002 pmid:24564541 fatcat:uzxauy6dlvgohijsm7uq4unhtq