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: 2.13). 06/2012; 65(12):2369-2383. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2012.687384
Source: PubMed


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, (20006.

Baddeley , A. D. 2000. The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(11): 417–423. (doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01538-2) [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references) and support a subsequent account in which binding takes place automatically prior to information entering the episodic buffer Baddeley, Allen, & Hitch, (20117.

Baddeley , A. D. ,
Allen , R. J. and
Hitch , G. J. 2011. Binding in visual working memory: The role of the episodic buffer. Neuropsychologia, 49: 1393–1400. (doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.12.042) [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references). 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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    • "First, researchers had proposed a few alternatives to explain the finding of Fougnie and Marois (2009; cf. Allen et al., 2012; Hollingworth & Maxcey-Richard, 2013; Zhang, Johnson, Woodman, & Luck, 2012). One explanation relevant to the current object-based hypothesis was proposed by Hollingworth and Maxcey-Richard. "
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    ABSTRACT: Feature binding is a core concept in many research fields, including the study of working memory (WM). Over the past decade, it has been debated whether keeping the feature binding in visual WM consumes more visual attention than the constituent single features. Previous studies have only explored the contribution of domain-general attention or space-based attention in the binding process; no study so far has explored the role of object-based attention in retaining binding in visual WM. We hypothesized that object-based attention underlay the mechanism of rehearsing feature binding in visual WM. Therefore, during the maintenance phase of a visual WM task, we inserted a secondary mental rotation (Experiments 1–3), transparent motion (Experiment 4), or an object-based feature report task (Experiment 5) to consume the object-based attention available for binding. In line with the prediction of the object-based attention hypothesis, Experiments 1–5 revealed a more significant impairment for binding tha
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance
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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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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the role of attention in maintaining information between visual features in visual working memory. In a change detection paradigm, two different memory conditions were created, one that required the maintenance of features and one that required the maintenance of how the features were bound together. During the short retention interval that separated the study display and test display, a tone discrimination task was to be performed. The attentional demand of the tone discrimination task was manipulated to test whether memory for binding was more disrupted than memory for features when the proportion of time during which attention is unavailable for maintenance is increased. We observed that memory for features and memory for bindings were equally disrupted by increasing the attentional demands of the tone discrimination task. This suggests that attention does not play a special role in the maintenance of feature bindings in visual working memory.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology
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    • "Tables 1 and 2 show the percentage correct and median reaction time (RT) for recognizing memory probes in each condition. To reflect memory accurately stored in working memory, correction for guessing is required [33]. We subtracted the false alarm rate (respond “present” when the digit was absent in the memory set) from the hit rate (respond “present” when the digit was in the memory set) of each condition to analyze accuracy data. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that loading information on working memory affects selective attention. However, whether the load effect on selective attention is domain-general or domain-specific remains unresolved. The domain-general effect refers to the findings that load in one content (e.g. phonological) domain in working memory influences processing in another content (e.g., visuospatial) domain. Attentional control supervises selection regardless of information domain. The domain-specific effect refers to the constraint of influence only when maintenance and processing operate in the same domain. Selective attention operates in a specific content domain. This study is designed to resolve this controversy. Across three experiments, we manipulated the type of representation maintained in working memory and the type of representation upon which the participants must exert control to resolve conflict and select a target into the focus of attention. In Experiments 1a and 1b, participants maintained digits and nonverbalized objects, respectively, in working memory while selecting a target in a letter array. In Experiment 2, we presented auditory digits with a letter flanker task to exclude the involvement of resource competition within the same input modality. In Experiments 3a and 3b, we replaced the letter flanker task with an object flanker task while manipulating the memory load on object and digit representation, respectively. The results consistently showed that memory load modulated distractibility only when the stimuli of the two tasks were represented in the same domain. The magnitude of distractor interference was larger under high load than under low load, reflecting a lower efficacy of information prioritization. When the stimuli of the two tasks were represented in different domains, memory load did not modulate distractibility. Control of processing priority in selective attention demands domain-specific resources.
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