Concurrent Working Memory Load Can Facilitate Selective Attention: Evidence for Specialized Load

Soojin Park, Min Shik Kim, Marvin M. Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Load theory predicts that concurrent working memory load impairs selective attention and increases distractor interference (N. Lavie, A. Hirst, J. W. de Fockert, & E. Viding, 2004). Here, the authors present new evidence that the type of concurrent working memory load determines whether load impairs selective attention or not. Working memory load was paired with a same/different matching task that required focusing on targets while ignoring distractors. When working memory items shared the same limited-capacity processing mechanisms with targets in the matching task, distractor interference increased. However, when working memory items shared processing with distractors in the matching task, distractor interference decreased, facilitating target selection. A specialized load account is proposed to describe the dissociable effects of working memory load on selective processing depending on whether the load overlaps with targets or with distractors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1062-1075
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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