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Recent studies have demonstrated that memory performance can be enhanced by a cue which indicates the item most likely to be subsequently probed, even when that cue is delivered seconds after a stimulus array is extinguished. Although such retro-cuing has attracted considerable interest, the mechanisms underlying it remain unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that retro-cues might protect an item from degradation over time. We employed two techniques that previously have not been deployed in retro-cuing tasks. First, we used a sensitive, continuous scale for reporting the orientation of a memorized item, rather than binary measures (change or no change) typically used in previous studies. Second, to investigate the stability of memory across time, we also systematically varied the duration between the retro-cue and report. Although accuracy of reporting uncued objects rapidly declined over short intervals, retro-cued items were significantly more stable, showing negligible decline in accuracy across time and protection from forgetting. Retro-cuing an object's color was just as advantageous as spatial retro-cues. These findings demonstrate that during maintenance, even when items are no longer visible, attention resources can be selectively redeployed to protect the accuracy with which a cued item can be recalled over time, but with a corresponding cost in recall for uncued items. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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... While PI has been reported for an array of visual stimuli (e.g., Postle et al., 2004;Makovski and Jiang, 2008;Cyr et al., 2017), research has also shown that unfamiliar visual material undergoes rapid forgetting. In several studies asking participants to actively retain such stimuli over brief delays, a drop in performance has been recorded as the interval separating encoding from retrieval is lengthened (e.g., Ricker and Cowan, 2010, 2014, Pertzov et al., 2013Mercer and Barker, 2020). A similar effect, or an even more pronounced effect, should be expected for the passively maintained visual memories underlying PI. ...
... These findings support a decay process, where memories of events from the previous trial are forgotten over a delay. They are also consistent with demonstrations of time-dependent forgetting for actively maintained visual information (e.g., Cowan, 2010, 2014;Pertzov et al., 2013;Mercer and Barker, 2020). A reduction in PI can be explained by temporal distinctiveness theory too (e.g., Brown et al., 2007), where the distinctiveness of events on the current trial is higher when that trial is temporally isolated from the previous trial, improving recognition accuracy. ...
... A relatively long-lasting form of passive memory is also compatible with McKeown et al.'s (2014) active-passive model, in which old, residual memories are passively maintained over lengthy delays and are resistant to non-specific interference. However, there is a potential paradox emerging from this interpretation, as actively maintained visual stimuli are quickly forgotten over a retention interval, as already discussed (e.g., Cowan, 2010, 2014;Pertzov et al., 2013;Mercer and Barker, 2020). It may be better, therefore, to view PI as produced by a durable yet not entirely accurate representation of old items. ...
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The current contents of visual working memory can be disrupted by previously formed memories. This phenomenon is known as proactive interference, and it can be used to index the availability of old memories. However, there is uncertainty about the robustness and lifetime of proactive interference, which raises important questions about the role of temporal factors in forgetting. The present study assessed different factors that were expected to influence the persistence of proactive interference over an inter-trial interval in the visual recent probes task. In three experiments, participants encoded arrays of targets and then determined whether a single probe matched one of those targets. On some trials, the probe matched an item from the previous trial (a “recent negative”), whereas on other trials the probe matched a more distant item (a “non-recent negative”). Prior studies have found that recent negative probes can increase errors and slow response times in comparison to non-recent negative probes, and this offered a behavioral measure of proactive interference. In Experiment 1, factors of array size (the number of targets to be encoded) and inter-trial interval (300 ms vs. 8 s) were manipulated in the recent probes task. There was a reduction in proactive interference when a longer delay separated trials on one measure, but only when participants encoded two targets. When working memory capacity was strained by increasing the array size to four targets, proactive interference became stronger after the long delay. In Experiment 2, the inter-trial interval length was again manipulated, along with stimulus novelty (the number of stimuli used in the experiment). Proactive interference was modestly stronger when a smaller number of stimuli were used throughout the experiment, but proactive interference was minimally affected by the inter-trial interval. These findings are problematic for temporal models of forgetting, but Experiment 3 showed that proactive interference also resisted disruption produced by a secondary task presented within the inter-trial interval. Proactive interference was constantly present and generally resilient to the different manipulations. The combined data suggest a relatively durable, passive representation that can disrupt current working memory under a variety of different circumstances.
... Depending on their content, retro-cues can be classified as object-based or dimension-based retro-cues (Ye et al., 2016). Object-based retro-cues point to one or more specific memory objects at the same time; they include cues that indicate the location of the target object (e.g., left or right) (Kuo et al., 2011;Lepsien et al., 2005;Matsukura et al., 2014;Matsukura & Vecera, 2015;Murray et al., 2013;Myers et al., 2015) and cues that indicate a specific feature of the target object (e.g., red or square) (Gilchrist et al., 2016;Heuer & Schubö, 2016;Li & Saiki, 2015;Pertzov et al., 2013;Poch et al., 2017). Dimension-based retro-cues, by contrast, direct attention to one visual dimension of all the memory items (e.g., color, orientation) instead of to a specific object (Hajonides et al., 2020;Maniglia & Souza, 2020;Niklaus et al., 2017;Park et al., 2017;Sasin & Fougnie, 2020;Ye et al., 2016Ye et al., , 2021. ...
... Studies using either object-based or dimension-based retro-cues have yielded robust RCB (Matsukura & Vecera, 2015;Park et al., 2017;van Moorselaar et al., 2015;Ye et al., 2016), which means that both types of internal attention can select and prioritize the VWM content. To the best of our knowledge, although many studies have investigated the mechanisms of object-based RCB (Makovski & Jiang, 2007;Niklaus et al., 2017;Rerko & Oberauer, 2013;Souza et al., 2014Williams et al., 2013;Matsukura et al., 2007;Pertzov et al., 2013), researchers have devoted very little attention to the mechanisms of dimension-based RCB. ...
Preprint
In visual working memory (VWM) tasks, participants' performance can be improved via dimension-based retro-cues, which direct internal attention to prioritize a particular dimension of objects (such as color or orientation) during the maintenance interval. The information prioritized by retro-cues in VWM corresponds to better performance, which is called dimension-based retro-cue benefit (RCB). In general, RCB is a stable phenomenon that emerges under varied stimulus configurations and timing parameters. The purpose of the present study was to investigate dimension-based RCB's susceptibility to perceptual interference to determine the requirements of attention for cue use. In Experiment 1, participants completed change-detection tasks, and in Experiment 2, we used a recall task to explore the effect of interference on dimension-based RCB. RCB was found in both experiments, but perceptual interference impaired the process of prioritizing dimensional features only in the orientation reports of Experiment 2. We conclude that internal attention can be prioritized to remember specific dimensional features in VWM. Importantly, the process of prioritizing internal attention on a particular dimension in a VWM task is robust and not susceptible to interference by irrelevant perceptual information, except in specific cases.
... Besides selection in perception, our mind can also prioritize information in memory . Selected memories are represented with higher precision and they are more likely to be remembered (Bays & Taylor, 2018;Lin et al., 2021;Makovski et al., 2008;Matsukura et al., 2007;Pertzov et al., 2013;Souza et al., 2015. ...
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Attention is captured by information matching the contents of working memory. Though many factors modulate the amount of capture, there is surprising resistance to cognitive control. Capture occurs even when participants are instructed either that an item would never be a target or to drop that item from memory. Does the persistence of capture under these conditions reflect a rigidity in capture, or can properly motivated participants learn to completely suppress distractors and/or completely drop items from memory? Surprisingly, no studies have looked at the influence of extensive training of involuntary capture from working memory items. Here, we addressed whether training leads to a reduction or even elimination of memory-driven capture. After memorizing a single object, participants were cued to remember or to forget this object. Subsequently, they were asked to execute a search task. To measure capture, we compared search performances in displays that did and did not contain a distractor matching the earlier memorized object. Participants completed multiple experimental sessions over four days. The results showed that attentional capture by to-be-remembered distractors was reduced, but not eliminated in subsequent sessions compared with the first session. Training did not impact capture by to-be-forgotten objects. The results suggest observable, but limited, cognitive control over memory-driven capture.
... This allowed us to replicate the results of Experiments 1 and 2. The crucial manipulation consisted in the cue validity: One-third of the cues were now invalid (i.e., 33% invalid cues compared to 66% valid cues). When participants are encouraged to focus attention on one memory representation, but are then tested on one of the non-cued items, this produces a performance cost (Astle et al., 2012;Gözenman et al., 2014;Gressmann & Janczyk, 2016;Griffin & Nobre, 2003;Gunseli et al., 2015;Pertzov et al., 2013;Souza, Thalmann, & Oberauer, 2018;van Moorselaar, Gunseli, et al., 2015;van Moorselaar, Olivers, et al., 2015), which has been interpreted as evidence that non-cued items are removed from VWM, thereby freeing capacity (Gunseli et al., 2018;Williams et al., 2013). Accordingly, if participants substantially drew on their performance when appraising their attention, that should result in ratings in the invalid-cue condition (that produces costs to response accuracy) being lower compared to the no-cue trials and the valid retro-cue trials, which produce better memory performance. ...
Article
Attention has multiple influences on visual working memory (VWM). Fluctuations in sustained attention predict VWM performance. Furthermore, focusing selective attention in VWM by retro-cuing the to-be-tested item during maintenance boosts retrieval. So far, we lack knowledge how the ability to focus selective attention relates to the state of sustained attention during the VWM trial. Here, we combined a retro-cue task and a self-rated attention protocol to test whether focusing selective attention via retro-cues: (1) mitigates spontaneous attention fluctuations, in which case retro-cues should be more helpful under low levels of self-rated attention; (2) depends on an optimal state of sustained attention, in which case retro-cue benefits should be largest under high levels of self-rated attention; or (3) is independent of sustained attention, in which case retro-cue benefits and self-rated attention effects should be additive. Our data supported the additive hypothesis. Across four experiments, self-rated attention levels predicted continuous reproduction of colors. Retro-cue trials produced better recall and higher rated attention. Critically, retro-cues improved recall to a similar extent across all levels of self-rated attention. This indicates that attention has multi-faceted and independent contributions to VWM.
... This likely involves cortical representations that are currently active, although some work suggests that there may be some involvement of activity silent connections that also help with the establishment of long-term memories (e.g., Stokes, 2015). The hippocampus may also play a role in maintaining and retrieving information in working memory, especially for novel or relational information (Yonelinas, 2013), as hippocampal damage has been associated with impairments in working memory for relationships among object features (Pertzov et al., 2013) and their locations in space (Hartley et al., 2007). ...
Article
The forgetting curve is one of the most well known and established findings in memory research. Knowing the pattern of memory change over time can provide insight into underlying cognitive mechanisms. The default understanding is that forgetting follows a continuous, negatively accelerating function, such as a power function. We show that this understanding is incorrect. We first consider whether forgetting rates vary across different intervals of time reported in the literature. We found that there were different patterns of forgetting across different time periods. Next, we consider evidence that complex memories, such as those derived from event cognition, show different patterns, such as linear forgetting. Based on these findings, we argue that forgetting cannot be adequately explained by a single continuous function. As an alternative, we propose a Memory Phases Framework, through which the progress of memory can be divided into phases that parallel changes associated with neurological memory consolidation. These phases include (a) Working Memory (WM) during the first minute of retention, (b) Early Long-Term Memory (e-LTM) during the 12 hr following encoding, (c) a period of Transitional Long-Term Memory (t-LTM) during the following week or so, and (d) Long-Lasting Memory (LLM) memory beyond this. These findings are of significance for any field of study where being able to predict retention and forgetting is important, such as training, eyewitness memory, or clinical treatment. They are also important for evaluating behavioral or neuroscientific manipulations targeting memories over longer periods of time when different processes may be involved. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... In this view, attention acts as a kind of spotlight by enhancing the mental representation of relevant information and potentially suppressing neural activity related to irrelevant content. Analogously, during the storage of visuo-spatial information in working memory, we can focus attention on certain stored content and thereby generate a prioritized representational state, protecting the attended information against decay and interference (Bays & Taylor, 2018;Makovski et al., 2008;Matsukura et al., 2007;Pertzov et al., 2013). However, this concept of an attentional bias on information stored in working memory fails to consider the goal-directedness of human information processing in every-day life. ...
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What mechanisms underlie the transfer of a working memory representation into a higher-level code for guiding future actions? Electrophysiological correlates of attentional selection and motor preparation processes within working memory were investigated in two retrospective cuing tasks. In the first experiment, participants stored the orientation and location of a grating. Subsequent feature cues (selective vs. neutral) indicated which feature would be the target for later report. The oscillatory response in the mu and beta frequency range with an estimated source in the sensorimotor cortex contralateral to the responding hand was used as correlate of motor preparation. Mu/beta suppression was stronger following the selective feature cues compared to the neutral cue, demonstrating that purely feature-based selection is sufficient to form a prospective motor plan. In the second experiment, another retrospective cue was included to study whether knowledge of the task at hand is necessary to initiate motor preparation. Following the feature cue, participants were cued to either compare the stored feature(s) to a probe stimulus (recognition task) or to adjust the memory probe to match the target feature (continuous report task). An analogous suppression in the mu frequency range was observed following a selective feature cue, even though the task at hand was not specified yet. Further, a subsequent selective task cue again elicited a mu/beta suppression, which was stronger after a continuous report task cue. This indicates that working memory is able to flexibly store different types of information in higher-level mental codes to provide optimal prerequisites for all required action possibilities.
... This, in turn, may lead to allocating more of the spatial attention of the patient to the object's location, increasing the precision of location memory and probably also the memory of some other attributes (Barrouillet, Portrat, & Camos, 2011;Cohen-Dallal et al., 2021;Cowan et al., 2005;Oberauer & Hein, 2012;. Memory of objects in the focus of attention is known to be more stable (Pertzov, J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f Bays, Joseph, & Husain, 2013) and precise than memory for objects outside the focus of attention. ...
Article
The impact of damage to different regions and functional systems of the brain on visual working memory (WM) is far from understood. Here we examined how impaired object naming due to brain damage affects object identity and location information in working memory. Ten first-event stroke patients with aphasia performed a "delayed estimation" task that examines memory of object location separately from memory of object identity, using a continuous reporting scale. Following a delay of 4 s, objects that could not be named by the aphasic patients were localized more precisely than objects that could be named. The results are interpreted with reference to classic models separating phonological from visuospatial working memory, and with reference to the "verbal overshadowing" effect that is typically associated with long-term memory.
Article
What mechanisms underlie the transfer of a working memory representation into a higher-level code for guiding future actions? Electrophysiological correlates of attentional selection and motor preparation processes within working memory were investigated in two retrospective cuing tasks. In the first experiment, participants stored the orientation and location of a grating. Subsequent feature cues (selective vs. neutral) indicated which feature would be the target for later report. The oscillatory response in the mu and beta frequency range with an estimated source in the sensorimotor cortex contralateral to the responding hand was used as correlate of motor preparation. Mu/beta suppression was stronger following the selective feature cues compared to the neutral cue, demonstrating that purely feature-based selection is sufficient to form a prospective motor plan. In the second experiment, another retrospective cue was included to study whether knowledge of the task at hand is necessary to initiate motor preparation. Following the feature cue, participants were cued to either compare the stored feature(s) to a probe stimulus (recognition task) or to adjust the memory probe to match the target feature (continuous report task). An analogous suppression of mu oscillations was observed following a selective feature cue, even ahead of task specification. Further, a subsequent selective task cue again elicited a mu/beta suppression, which was stronger after a continuous report task cue. This indicates that working memory is able to flexibly store different types of information in higher-level mental codes to provide optimal prerequisites for all required action possibilities.
Article
The visual working memory is a temporary storage system, which encodes, maintains and retrieves visual information. The researchers have found that adding retro-cues to the maintenance phase of memory leads to changes in participants’ memory performance, which is the retro-cue effect. The magnitude of the retro-cue effect is not set in stone, but changes with the changes of its influencing factors. However, there is no study to summarize the influencing factors of the retro-cue effect. This paper looked into the articles related to the study of the retro-cue effect and summarized the influencing factors of the retro-cue effect: memory items, maintenance interval time, interference in maintenance interval, and types of retro-cue. Based on this, future research can explore the factors that influence the retro-cue effect in other dimensions. At the same time, since retro-cue can improve memory performance and cognitive processing, these influencing factors should be reasonably controlled when using retro-cues. The internal attention mechanism of visual working memory could be further explored and the understanding of visual working memory mechanism could be promoted.
Article
Proactive interference - the disruptive effect of old memories on new learning - is a long-established forgetting mechanism, yet there are doubts about its impact on visual working memory and uncertainty about the kinds of information that cause proactive interference. The present study aimed to assess these issues in three experiments using a modified recent probes task. Participants encoded four target images on each trial and determined whether a probe matched one of those targets. In Experiment 1, probes matching targets from trial N-1 or N-3 damaged responding in relation to a novel probe. Proactive interference was also produced by probes differing in state to a previously experienced target. This was further assessed in Experiments 2 and 3. Here, probes differing in colour to a previous target, or matching the general target category only, produced little proactive interference. Conversely, probes directly matching a prior target, or differing in state information, hindered task performance. This study found robust proactive interference in visual working memory that could endure over multiple trials, but it was also produced by stimuli closely resembling an old target. This challenges the notion that proactive interference is produced by an exact representation of a previously encoded image.
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Recent behavioral studies have given rise to two contrasting models for limited working memory capacity: a "discrete-slot" model in which memory items are stored in a limited number of slots, and a "shared-resource" model in which the neural representation of items is distributed across a limited pool of resources. To elucidate the underlying neural processes, we investigated a continuous network model for working memory of an analog feature. Our model network fundamentally operates with a shared resource mechanism, and stimuli in cue arrays are encoded by a distributed neural population. On the other hand, the network dynamics and performance are also consistent with the discrete-slot model, because multiple objects are maintained by distinct localized population persistent activity patterns (bump attractors). We identified two phenomena of recurrent circuit dynamics that give rise to limited working memory capacity. As the working memory load increases, a localized persistent activity bump may either fade out (so the memory of the corresponding item is lost) or merge with another nearby bump (hence the resolution of mnemonic representation for the merged items becomes blurred). We identified specific dependences of these two phenomena on the strength and tuning of recurrent synaptic excitation, as well as network normalization: the overall population activity is invariant to set size and delay duration; therefore, a constant neural resource is shared by and dynamically allocated to the memorized items. We demonstrate that the model reproduces salient observations predicted by both discrete-slot and shared-resource models, and propose testable predictions of the merging phenomenon.
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Neural noise limits the fidelity of representations in the brain. This limitation has been extensively analyzed for sensory coding. However, in short-term memory and integrator networks, where noise accumulates and can play an even more prominent role, much less is known about how neural noise interacts with neural and network parameters to determine the accuracy of the computation. Here we analytically derive how the stored memory in continuous attractor networks of probabilistically spiking neurons will degrade over time through diffusion. By combining statistical and dynamical approaches, we establish a fundamental limit on the network's ability to maintain a persistent state: The noise-induced drift of the memory state over time within the network is strictly lower-bounded by the accuracy of estimation of the network's instantaneous memory state by an ideal external observer. This result takes the form of an information-diffusion inequality. We derive some unexpected consequences: Despite the persistence time of short-term memory networks, it does not pay to accumulate spikes for longer than the cellular time-constant to read out their contents. For certain neural transfer functions, the conditions for optimal sensory coding coincide with those for optimal storage, implying that short-term memory may be co-localized with sensory representation.
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It is commonly believed that visual short-term memory (VSTM) consists of a fixed number of "slots" in which items can be stored. An alternative theory in which memory resource is a continuous quantity distributed over all items seems to be refuted by the appearance of guessing in human responses. Here, we introduce a model in which resource is not only continuous but also variable across items and trials, causing random fluctuations in encoding precision. We tested this model against previous models using two VSTM paradigms and two feature dimensions. Our model accurately accounts for all aspects of the data, including apparent guessing, and outperforms slot models in formal model comparison. At the neural level, variability in precision might correspond to variability in neural population gain and doubly stochastic stimulus representation. Our results suggest that VSTM resource is continuous and variable rather than discrete and fixed and might explain why subjective experience of VSTM is not all or none.
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Many cognitive processes depend on our ability to hold information in mind, often well beyond the offset of the original sensory input. The capacity of this visual short-term memory (VSTM) is limited to around three to four items. Recent research has demonstrated that the content of VSTM can be modulated by top-down attentional biases. This has been demonstrated using retrodictive spatial cues, termed "retro-cues," which orient subjects' attention to spatial locations within VSTM. In the present article, we tested whether the use of these cues is modulated by memory load and cue delay. There are a number of important conclusions: (1) Top-down biases can operate on very brief iconic traces as well as on older VSTM representations (Exp. 1). (2) When operating within capacity, subjects use the cue to prioritise where they initiate their memory search, rather than to discard uncued items (Exps. 2 and 3). (3) When capacity is exceeded, there is little benefit to top-down biasing relative to a neutral condition; however, unattended items are lost, with there being a substantial cost of invalid spatial cueing (Exp. 3). (4) These costs and benefits of orienting spatial attention differ across iconic memory and VSTM representations when VSTM capacity is exceeded (Exp. 4).
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This book is the magnum opus of one of the most influential cognitive psychologists of the past 50 years. This new volume on the model he created (with Graham Hitch) discusses the developments that have occurred in the past 20 years, and places it within a broader context. Working memory is a temporary storage system that underpins onex' capacity for coherent thought. Some 30 years ago, Baddeley and Hitch proposed a way of thinking about working memory that has proved to be both valuable and influential in its application to practical problems. This book updates the theory, discussing both the evidence in its favour, and alternative approaches. In addition, it discusses the implications of the model for understanding social and emotional behaviour, concluding with an attempt to place working memory in a broader biological and philosophical context. Inside are chapters on the phonological loop, the visuo-spatial sketchpad, the central executive and the episodic buffer. There are also chapters on the relevance to working memory of studies of the recency effect, of work based on individual differences, and of neuroimaging research. The broader implications of the concept of working memory are discussed in the chapters on social psychology, anxiety, depression, consciousness, and on the control of action. Finally, the author discusses the relevance of a concept of working memory to the classic problems of consciousness and free will.
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Starting from the premise that working memory is a system for providing access to representations for complex cognition, six requirements for a working memory system are delineated: (1) maintaining structural representations by dynamic bindings, (2) manipulating structural representations, (3) flexible reconfiguration, (4) partial decoupling from long-term memory, (5) controlled retrieval from long-term memory, and (6) encoding of new structures into longterm memory. The chapter proposes an architecture for a system that meets these requirements. The working memory system consists of a declarative and a procedural part, each of which has three embedded components: the activated part of long-term memory, a component for creating new structural representations by dynamic bindings (the ‘‘region of direct access’’ for declarative working memory, and the ‘‘bridge’’ for procedural working memory), and a mechanism for selecting a single element (‘‘focus of attention’’ for declarative working memory, and ‘‘response focus’’ for procedural working memory). The architecture affords two modes of information processing, an analytical and an associative mode. This distinction provides a theoretically founded formulation of a dual-process theory of reasoning.
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Attention and memory are typically studied as separate topics, but they are highly intertwined. Here we discuss the relation between memory and two fundamental types of attention: perceptual and reflective. Memory is the persisting consequence of cognitive activities initiated by and/or focused on external information from the environment (perceptual attention) and initiated by and/or focused on internal mental representations (reflective attention). We consider three key questions for advancing a cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory: to what extent do perception and reflection share representational areas? To what extent are the control processes that select, maintain, and manipulate perceptual and reflective information subserved by common areas and networks? During perception and reflection, to what extent are common areas responsible for binding features together to create complex, episodic memories and for reviving them later? Considering similarities and differences in perceptual and reflective attention helps integrate a broad range of findings and raises important unresolved issues.