On the difference between working memory and attentional set

C.N.L. Olivers, M. Eimer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous work has shown that distractors present in a visual search display attract attention when they match objects kept in visual working memory. It seems that maintaining an object in working memory is functionally identical to adopting an attentional set for that object. We test this conjecture by asking observers to perform a memory task as well as a visual search task (in which memory-related distractors could return), but to leave the observer uncertain as to which of these tasks would have to be completed first. This way, observers ought to more readily look for the memorized information, rather than just remember it. Memory-related distractor effects were larger than when participants knew the order of the tasks beforehand, consistent with the idea that trying to attend to something involves additional processes or representations beyond those needed for simply storing an item. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1558
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'On the difference between working memory and attentional set'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this