The role of working memory content in oculomotor capture

Shen, Xuechun ORCID: 0000-0003-4934-3998 (2021). The role of working memory content in oculomotor capture. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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The relationship between working memory and visual selection is close yet, but how working memory contents influence dynamic overt selective attention are unclear. Based on covert attention studies, evidence shows that when memory resources were taxed, increased oculomotor capture by distractors may depend on the overlap between memory-content and search stimuli. In the present study, we used an eye-tracker technique and combined a working memory task with a search task. Memory content was based on color or shape information. The color-preview overlapped with stimulus saliency whereas the shape-preview was not. In the active-memory condition, participants were asked to remember the memory array until the end of trials and did not have to remember in the no-memory condition. In the search task, participants were instructed to make a saccade to a specific-tilted target. Either the target was a unique-red tilted line, or the distractor was red while the remaining non-targets were white. The orientation and color of the target and distractor were opposite. Experiment 1 used a 2 memory-types (active-memory vs. no-memory) * 2 memory-content (color-preview vs. shape-preview) * 2 target-salience (salient-target vs. salient-distractor) within-subject design. The results revealed a reliable three-way interaction among memory-content, memory-type and target-salience, suggesting the influence of color-saliency was larger for the color-memory compare to the shape-memory. The post-hoc follow-up test further indicated that saliency processing was enhanced by color-memory. The difference between the salient target and non-salient target as a function of memory-type was greatly large only for the color-preview. Thus, to further investigate the effect of the color-preview, Experiment 2 was designed where only the color-preview and the no-preview were presented. The results showed that the three-way interaction among preview-memory, target-saliency and experiment-type was not reliable, suggesting that the difference as a function of target-saliency between color-memory and color-preview no-memory in Experiment 2 was similar to Experiment 1. While ignoring the no-preview, more saliency-driven saccades were observed when memorizing the color-preview. Additionally, the bin only interacted with target-saliency in both experiments. Taken together, oculomotor capture by saliency could be enhanced by active-memory only when it matched to memory-content. While the time-course of overt selection was influenced by stimuli salience, working memory did not modulate such dynamics.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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