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ERIC Number: EJ1008658
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
On the Role of Working Memory in Spatial Contextual Cueing
Travis, Susan L.; Mattingley, Jason B.; Dux, Paul E.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n1 p208-219 Jan 2013
The human visual system receives more information than can be consciously processed. To overcome this capacity limit, we employ attentional mechanisms to prioritize task-relevant (target) information over less relevant (distractor) information. Regularities in the environment can facilitate the allocation of attention, as demonstrated by the spatial contextual cueing paradigm. When observers are exposed repeatedly to a scene and invariant distractor information, learning from earlier exposures enhances the search for the target. Here, we investigated whether spatial contextual cueing draws on spatial working memory resources and, if so, at what level of processing working memory load has its effect. Participants performed 2 tasks concurrently: a visual search task, in which the spatial configuration of some search arrays occasionally repeated, and a spatial working memory task. Increases in working memory load significantly impaired contextual learning. These findings indicate that spatial contextual cueing utilizes working memory resources. (Contains 5 figures and 2 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia