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Role of Working Memory in Visual Selective Attention. de Fockert, Rees, Frith, Lavie (2001). Outline. Definition of Selective Attention Definition of Working Memory Previous research Current research Methodology & Results Behavioural Task Imaging Study Discussion. Selective Attention.

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role of working memory in visual selective attention

Role of Working Memory in Visual Selective Attention

de Fockert, Rees, Frith, Lavie (2001)

outline
Outline
  • Definition of Selective Attention
  • Definition of Working Memory
  • Previous research
  • Current research
    • Methodology & Results
      • Behavioural Task
      • Imaging Study
  • Discussion
selective attention
Selective Attention
  • A system that focuses on relevant information by filtering out irrelevant information from the available stimuli
  • The purpose is to reduce the load on cognitive processing systems

Downing, 2000

working memory
Working Memory
  • A system used for short-term storage & “executive processes”

Smith & Jonides, 1999

short term memory
Short-term Memory
  • Performing active maintenance of a limited amount of information for a matter of seconds

Smith & Jonides, 1999

executive processes
Executive Processes
  • Attention & Inhibition (Competition)
  • Task Management
  • Planning
  • Monitoring
  • Coding

Smith & Jonides, 1999

low working memory load

Attention & Inhibition

Task Management

Planning

Monitoring & Updating

Coding

Low Working Memory Load

*adapted from Smith & Jonides, 1999

high working memory load
High Working Memory Load

Attention & Inhibition

Task Management

Planning

Monitoring & Updating

Coding

working memory load
Working Memory Load

As working memory load increases, processing of irrelevant stimuli also increases, and vice versa.

previous research
Previous Research
  • Working memory may provide top-down modulation of selective attention
  • Active maintenance of objects in working memory caused selective attention to shift towards that object

Downing, 2001

lebar et al 1999
LeBar et al (1999)
  • Physiological overlap between working memory and visuospatial attention tasks
  • Concluded that spatial attention and working memory use common cognitive features
  • This would require dynamic shifting of attentional resources
hypothesis
Hypothesis
  • Selective Attention relies on Working Memory to prioritize stimuli to process relevant stimuli

*BUT if Working Memory is busy than Selective Attention will process irrelevant stimuli to a greater degree

methodology

Methodology

Behavioural Task

slide15

500 ms

1500 ms

850 ms

500 ms

1250 ms

Response Interval

500 ms

1250 ms

Response Interval

3000 ms

Example of High Working Memory Load condition with two Selective Attention tasks.

results

Results

Behavioural Data

results1
Results

*significant main effect

distractor interference congruency effects
Distractor Interference/Congruency Effects
  • Low working memory load = 46 ms (error rate=3%)
  • High working memory load = 78 ms (error rate=4%)
  • F(1,9) = 13.36, P<0.01
methodology1

Methodology

Imaging Task

details
Details
  • 6 participants (4 males, 2 females)
  • 2T Siemens VISION system measured BOLD signal
  • 32 contiguous 3-mm axial slices per volume
  • Acquired every 2800 ms
  • Total of 720 volumes acquired in six runs
epoch sequence

Run1

Run2

Run3

Run4

Run5

Run6

Low WM load and face incongruent

High WM load and face absent

High WM load and face incongruent

Low WM load and face absent

Epoch Sequence

} Block Design

5 memory trials and 15 attention displays

results2

Results

Imaging Data

slide28
Significant activations related to the interaction between selective attention and working memory load include:
  • Bilateral fusiform gyri
  • Right inferior occipital lobe
  • Left lingual gyrus
percent signal change for face presence versus absence
Percent signal change for face presence versus absence
  • Graph represents the maxima of interaction in right fusiform gyrus, separated by working memory load
discussion
Discussion
  • It is concluded that working memory and the prefrontal cortex plays an important role in controlling selective attention
perceptual vs working memory load
Perceptual vs Working Memory Load

Perceptual Load

As perceptual load increases, processing of irrelevant stimuli decreases, and vice versa.

previous work
Previous Work
  • Physiological overlap between areas involved in working memory and interference resolution (Binge et al, 2001)
analysis using spm
Analysis using SPM
  • Voxel-based
  • Images are spatially normalised into standard space and smoothed