Prospectively reinstated memory drives conscious access of matching visual input

Surya Gayet*, Dirk van Moorselaar, Christian N.L. Olivers, Chris L.E. Paffen, Stefan Van der Stigchel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Maintaining information in visual working memory (VWM) biases attentional selection of concurrent visual input, by favoring VWM-matching over VWM-mismatching visual input. Recently, it was shown that this bias disappears when the same item is memorized on consecutive occasions (as memoranda presumably transit from VWM to long-term memory), but reemerges when observers anticipate to memorize a novel item on a subsequent trial. Here, we aimed to conceptually replicate and extend this intriguing finding, by investigating whether prospectively reinstated memory drives conscious access of memory-matching visual input. We measured the time it took for participants to detect interocularly suppressed target stimuli, which were either from the same color category as a concurrently memorized color or not. Our results showed that the advantage of memory-matching targets in overcoming suppression progresses non-monotonically across consecutive memorizations of the same color (‘repetitions’): the advantage for memory-matching visual input initially declined to asymptote, before being fully revived on the last repetition. This revival was not observed in a control experiment in which targets were not interocularly suppressed. The results suggest that, as observers anticipate to memorize a novel item imminently, VWM usage is prospectively reinstated, causing memory-matching visual input to gain accelerated access to consciousness again.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4793
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Prospectively reinstated memory drives conscious access of matching visual input'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this