Strategic inhibition of distractors with visual working memory contents after involuntary attention capture
Lu, J., Tian, L., Zhang, J., Wang, J., Ye, C., & Liu, Q. (2017). Strategic inhibition of distractors with visual working memory contents after involuntary attention capture. Scientific Reports, 7, 16314. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16305-5
Published inScientific Reports
© the Authors, 2017. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
Previous research has suggested that visual working memory (VWM) contents had a guiding efect on selective attention, and once participants realized that the distractors shared the same information with VWM contents in the search task, they would strategically inhibit the potential distractors with VWM contents. However, previous behavioral studies could not reveal the way how distractors with VWM contents are inhibited strategically. By employing the eye-tracking technique and a dual-task paradigm, we manipulated the probability of memory items occurring as distractors to explore this issue. Consistent with previous behavioral studies, the results showed that the inhibitory efect occurred only in the high-probability condition, while the guiding efect emerged in the low-probability condition. More importantly, the eye-movement results indicated that in the high-probability condition, once few (even one) distractors with VWM contents were captured at frst, all the remaining distractors with VWM contents would be rejected as a whole. However, in the low-probability condition, attention could be captured by the majority of distractors with VWM contents. These results suggested that the guiding efect of VWM contents on attention is involuntary in the early stage of visual search. After the completion of this involuntary stage, the guiding efect of task-irrelevant VWM contents on attention could be strategically controlled. ...