Article

Feature binding and attention in working memory: A resolution of previous contradictory findings

a Institute of Psychological Sciences , University of Leeds , Leeds , UK.
Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006) (Impact Factor: 1.73). 06/2012; 65(12):2369-2383. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2012.687384
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We aimed to resolve an apparent contradiction between previous experiments from different laboratories, using dual-task methodology to compare effects of a concurrent executive load on immediate recognition memory for colours or shapes of items or their colour-shape combinations. Results of two experiments confirmed previous evidence that an irrelevant attentional load interferes equally with memory for features and memory for feature bindings. Detailed analyses suggested that previous contradictory evidence arose from limitations in the way recognition memory was measured. The present findings are inconsistent with an earlier suggestion that feature binding takes place within a multimodal episodic buffer (Baddeley, 2000) and support a subsequent account in which binding takes place automatically prior to information entering the episodic buffer (Baddeley, Allen, & Hitch, 2011). Methodologically, the results suggest that different measures of recognition memory performance (A', d', corrected recognition) give a converging picture of main effects, but are less consistent in detecting interactions. We suggest that this limitation on the reliability of measuring recognition should be taken into account in future research so as to avoid problems of replication that turn out to be more apparent than real.

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Available from: Judit Castellà, Jul 15, 2015
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    • "Because the aim of the study was to compare two dual-task situations that differed in the attentional demands of the processing task to be performed during retention, we did not include a single-task condition in which there was no concurrent processing task to be performed during retention. 2 The set of simple shapes used in the current study is comparable to the set of shapes used in relevant studies: horseshoe (Allen et al., 2012; Johnson et al., 2008; Wheeler & Treisman, 2002), hexagon (Johnson et al., 2008; Morey & Bieler, 2013), triangle (Allen et al., 2006, 2012; Johnson et al., 2008; Wheeler & Treisman, 2002), hourglass (Johnson et al., 2008; Wheeler & Treisman, 2002), circle (Allen et al., 2006, 2012; Johnson et al., 2008; Morey & Bieler, 2013; Wheeler & Treisman, 2002), square (Johnson et al., 2008; Morey & Bieler, 2013; Wheeler & Treisman, 2002), and flag (Allen et al., 2012). In contrast to these studies, we did not use the plus sign as one of the shapes so to avoid confusion with our fixation cross. "
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    • "As in Experiment 1, test probes consisted either of noncanonical color blobs (in the color condition), unfilled shape outlines (in the shape condition), or colored shape conjunctions (binding), with participants required to decide whether these individual features or feature combinations had been present during the stimulus sequence they had just experienced. This procedure closely resembles the method used by Brown and Brockmole (2010) and Allen et al. (2012, Experiment 2), though with serial instead of simultaneous target presentation. "
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