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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working memory and the guidance of visual attention: Consonance-driven orienting

  • Author(s): Huang, Liqiang
  • Pashler, Harold
  • et al.

Two experiments investigated the potential role of the content of working memory in guiding visual attention. Experiment 1 showed that maintaining a shape in working memory resulted in a decisive preference for moving attention to the same shape in the background when those shapes were task irrelevant. Experiment 2 showed a similar preference for words that were semantically related to an item held in working memory. We suggest that keeping an item active in working memory automatically results in a tendency for attention to be “attracted” to stimuli that are related to that item either visually or semantically.

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