08/08/2019 Computer Science Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.5334/joc.75 SemanticScholar ID: 202292950 MAG: 2967522223

Prioritizing Targets and Minimizing Distraction Within Limited Capacity Working Memory

Publication Summary

Oberauer (2019) maps out different perspectives that have emerged in exploring working memory and attention, and suggests particular ways in which these key aspects of cognition might operate in the service of successful goal completion. One question that is central to Oberauer’s review and to the field more generally concerns how automatic and controlled attention interact with each other and with working memory. In line with this, recent research indicates that both forms of attention can operate within the same task to determine whether information is maintained in working memory. Perceptual attention can be automatically captured by environmental input, resulting in superior recall for the most recent stimulus, along with unwanted disruption by distracting stimuli. Effortful top-down control, powered by executive resources, operates within this context to create and maintain task goals, and to support the maintenance of target information in an accessible state, particularly if it is of greater value/goal relevance.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Richard Allen

Dr. Richard Allen

University of Leeds - Associate Professor

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