Journal article

The visual familiarity effect on attentional working memory maintenance


  • 2024
Published in:
  • Memory & Cognition. - Springer. - 2024, p. 1-18
English Attentional refreshing has been described as an attention-based, domain-general maintenance mechanism in working memory. It is thought to operate via focusing executive attention on information held in working memory, protecting it from temporal decay and interference. Although attentional refreshing has attracted a lot of research, its functioning is still debated. At least one conception of refreshing supposes that it relies on semantic long-term memory representations to reconstruct working memory traces. Although investigations in the verbal domain found evidence against this hypothesis, a different pattern could emerge in visuospatial working memory in which absence of refreshing evidence has been observed for stimuli with minimal associated long-term knowledge. In a series of four experiments, the current study investigated the hypothesis of an involvement of semantic long-term representations in the functioning of attentional refreshing in the visuospatial domain. Both cognitive and memory load effects have been proposed as indexes of attentional refreshing. Therefore, we investigated the interaction between the effects of visual familiarity (a long-term memory effect) and cognitive load on recall performance (Experiments 1A and 1B), as well as the interaction between the effects of visual familiarity and memory load on the response times in a concurrent processing task (Experiments 2A and 2B). Results were consistent across experiments and go against the hypothesis of the involvement of semantic long-term memory in the functioning of attentional refreshing in visuospatial working memory. As such, this study corroborates the results found in the verbal domain. Implications for attentional refreshing and working memory are discussed.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de Psychologie
  • English
Open access status
Persistent URL

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