The Flexible Nature of the Interaction Between Attention and Working Memory

Stefan Van der Stigchel, Christian Olivers

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


In the research literature, attention and working memory are often intimately linked. In his excellent target article, Oberauer concludes that attention is not a necessary requirement for working memory maintenance. In our reply, we argue that attention is an emergent property of maintaining the current task goal. Humans can flexibly transfer the storage of information between different states and different memory systems as the need arises. Only information in service of currently active task goals requires attentional resources for maintenance. In this state, memoranda can bias behavior and are susceptible to interference from additional attention demanding tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019


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