Does visual working memory adapt to the nature of anticipated interference?

Research output: Contribution to JournalMeeting AbstractAcademic


Visual working memory (VWM) is an important memory buffer to briefly store visual information for ongoing tasks. Evidence shows that VWM representations can be protected against interfering input during the maintenance period. In this study, we investigated whether the protection of VWM representations is selective with regards to the anticipated nature of the interference, or whether VWM automatically protects all information in the wake of interference. In two experiments, participants were required to memorize both the color and the orientation of grating pattern for a memory test at the end of a delay period. During the delay period, either an additional color or an additional orientation memory task was presented. Which type of interfering task (color or orientation) would be presented was predictable with 80% likelihood. The results showed that memory for orientation survived orientation interference better when orientation interference was expected than when color interference was expected. Likewise, memory for color survived color interference better when color interference was expected than when orientation interference was expected. We conclude that visual working memory protection is adaptive in that it selectively shields the feature for which it expects the strongest interference.
Original languageEnglish
Article number699
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Vision Sciences Society [18th] Annual Meeting Abstract. St. Pete Beach, Fla. May 18-23, 2018


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