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ERIC Number: EJ932335
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Spatial Context Learning Survives Interference from Working Memory Load
Vickery, Timothy J.; Sussman, Rachel S.; Jiang, Yuhong V.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v36 n6 p1358-1371 Dec 2010
The human visual system is constantly confronted with an overwhelming amount of information, only a subset of which can be processed in complete detail. Attention and implicit learning are two important mechanisms that optimize vision. This study addressed the relationship between these two mechanisms. Specifically we asked, Is implicit learning of spatial context affected by the amount of working memory load devoted to an irrelevant task? We tested observers in visual search tasks where search displays occasionally repeated. Observers became faster when searching repeated displays than unrepeated ones, showing contextual cuing. We found that the size of contextual cuing was unaffected by whether observers learned repeated displays under unitary attention or when their attention was divided using working memory manipulations. These results held when working memory was loaded by colors, dot patterns, individual dot locations, or multiple potential targets. We conclude that spatial context learning is robust to interference from manipulations that limit the availability of attention and working memory. (Contains 8 figures.)
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: Massachusetts; Minnesota