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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