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Better target detection in the presence of collinear flankers under high working memory load.

De Fockert JW, Leiser J - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: In most demonstrations of the effect to-date, this has led to impaired target performance, leaving open the possibility that the effect partly reflects an increase in general task difficulty under high load.Here we show that working memory load can result in a performance gain when processing of distracting information aids target performance.The facilitation in the detection of a low-contrast Gabor stimulus in the presence of collinear flanking Gabors was greater when load on a concurrent working memory task was high, compared to low.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London London, UK.

ABSTRACT
There are multiple ways in which working memory can influence selective attention. Aside from the content-specific effects of working memory on selective attention, whereby attention is more likely to be directed towards information that matches the contents of working memory, the mere level of load on working memory has also been shown to have an effect on selective attention. Specifically, high load on working memory is associated with increased processing of irrelevant information. In most demonstrations of the effect to-date, this has led to impaired target performance, leaving open the possibility that the effect partly reflects an increase in general task difficulty under high load. Here we show that working memory load can result in a performance gain when processing of distracting information aids target performance. The facilitation in the detection of a low-contrast Gabor stimulus in the presence of collinear flanking Gabors was greater when load on a concurrent working memory task was high, compared to low. This finding suggests that working memory can interact with selective attention at an early stage in visual processing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean proportion correctly detected targets (A) and d-prime scores (B), as a function of target contrast, flanker presence, and working memory load. Error bars represent between-subject standard error of the mean.
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Figure 2: Mean proportion correctly detected targets (A) and d-prime scores (B), as a function of target contrast, flanker presence, and working memory load. Error bars represent between-subject standard error of the mean.

Mentions: Next, the probability to correctly detect a present Gabor patch was analyzed in a three (target contrast: low, medium, high) by two (flanker condition: present, absent) by two (working memory load: low, high) fully within-subjects Analysis of Variance (ANOVA; see Figure 2A). Only trials on which the working memory response was correct were included in this analysis. Stimulus visibility was successfully manipulated, as shown by a main effect of target contrast, F(1,11) = 42.03, MSe = 0.049, p < 0.001, = 0.793. Targets were least likely to be deemed present when they had low contrast (M = 0.326) compared to medium contrast (M = 0.535; t(11) = 5.86, SEM = 0.036, p < 0.001, d = 1.74) and high contrast (M = 0.741; t(11) = 7.18, SEM = 0.058, p < 0.001, d = 2.09), and less likely to be deemed present when they had medium contrast compared to high contrast (t(11) = 5.26, SEM = 0.039, p < 0.001, d = 1.52). The flanker facilitation effect (Polat and Sagi, 1993) was replicated, as shown by a significant main effect of flanker condition, F(1,11) = 18.92, MSe = 0.126, p < 0.01, = 0.632. Targets were more likely to be deemed present when the flankers were present (M = 0.662) compared to absent (M = 0.405). There was no main effect of working memory load (F < 1), but crucially, there was a significant two-way interaction between working memory load and flanker condition, F(1,11) = 4.93, MSe = 0.020, p < 0.05, = 0.310 (see Figure 3A). Planned follow-up tests (Bonferroni corrected) showed that the presence of the flankers led to a greater improvement in detection rates under high working memory load (from 0.389 to 0.699 in flanker absent and present conditions, respectively, t(11) = 4.47, SEM = 0.069, p < 0.001, d = 1.32) than under low working memory load (from 0.421 to 0.626, t(11) = 3.57, SEM = 0.057, p < 0.01, d = 1.04). No other effects were significant.


Better target detection in the presence of collinear flankers under high working memory load.

De Fockert JW, Leiser J - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Mean proportion correctly detected targets (A) and d-prime scores (B), as a function of target contrast, flanker presence, and working memory load. Error bars represent between-subject standard error of the mean.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4196630&req=5

Figure 2: Mean proportion correctly detected targets (A) and d-prime scores (B), as a function of target contrast, flanker presence, and working memory load. Error bars represent between-subject standard error of the mean.
Mentions: Next, the probability to correctly detect a present Gabor patch was analyzed in a three (target contrast: low, medium, high) by two (flanker condition: present, absent) by two (working memory load: low, high) fully within-subjects Analysis of Variance (ANOVA; see Figure 2A). Only trials on which the working memory response was correct were included in this analysis. Stimulus visibility was successfully manipulated, as shown by a main effect of target contrast, F(1,11) = 42.03, MSe = 0.049, p < 0.001, = 0.793. Targets were least likely to be deemed present when they had low contrast (M = 0.326) compared to medium contrast (M = 0.535; t(11) = 5.86, SEM = 0.036, p < 0.001, d = 1.74) and high contrast (M = 0.741; t(11) = 7.18, SEM = 0.058, p < 0.001, d = 2.09), and less likely to be deemed present when they had medium contrast compared to high contrast (t(11) = 5.26, SEM = 0.039, p < 0.001, d = 1.52). The flanker facilitation effect (Polat and Sagi, 1993) was replicated, as shown by a significant main effect of flanker condition, F(1,11) = 18.92, MSe = 0.126, p < 0.01, = 0.632. Targets were more likely to be deemed present when the flankers were present (M = 0.662) compared to absent (M = 0.405). There was no main effect of working memory load (F < 1), but crucially, there was a significant two-way interaction between working memory load and flanker condition, F(1,11) = 4.93, MSe = 0.020, p < 0.05, = 0.310 (see Figure 3A). Planned follow-up tests (Bonferroni corrected) showed that the presence of the flankers led to a greater improvement in detection rates under high working memory load (from 0.389 to 0.699 in flanker absent and present conditions, respectively, t(11) = 4.47, SEM = 0.069, p < 0.001, d = 1.32) than under low working memory load (from 0.421 to 0.626, t(11) = 3.57, SEM = 0.057, p < 0.01, d = 1.04). No other effects were significant.

Bottom Line: In most demonstrations of the effect to-date, this has led to impaired target performance, leaving open the possibility that the effect partly reflects an increase in general task difficulty under high load.Here we show that working memory load can result in a performance gain when processing of distracting information aids target performance.The facilitation in the detection of a low-contrast Gabor stimulus in the presence of collinear flanking Gabors was greater when load on a concurrent working memory task was high, compared to low.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London London, UK.

ABSTRACT
There are multiple ways in which working memory can influence selective attention. Aside from the content-specific effects of working memory on selective attention, whereby attention is more likely to be directed towards information that matches the contents of working memory, the mere level of load on working memory has also been shown to have an effect on selective attention. Specifically, high load on working memory is associated with increased processing of irrelevant information. In most demonstrations of the effect to-date, this has led to impaired target performance, leaving open the possibility that the effect partly reflects an increase in general task difficulty under high load. Here we show that working memory load can result in a performance gain when processing of distracting information aids target performance. The facilitation in the detection of a low-contrast Gabor stimulus in the presence of collinear flanking Gabors was greater when load on a concurrent working memory task was high, compared to low. This finding suggests that working memory can interact with selective attention at an early stage in visual processing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus