Interactions between working memory, attention and eye movements

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This paper reviews the recent findings on working memory, attention and eye movements. We discuss the research that shows that many phenomena related to visual attention taking place when selecting relevant information from the environment are similar to processes needed to keep information active in working memory. We discuss new data that show that when retrieving information from working memory, people may allocate visual spatial attention to the empty location in space that used to contain the information that has to be retrieved. Moreover, we show that maintaining a location in working memory not only may involve attention rehearsal, but might also recruit the oculomotor system. Recent findings seem to suggest that remembering a location may involve attention-based rehearsal in higher brain areas, while at the same time there is inhibition of specific motor programs at lower brain areas. We discuss the possibility that working memory functions do not reside at a special area in the brain, but emerge from the selective recruitment of brain areas that are typically involved in spatial attention and motor control. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-114
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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