Prospectively reinstated memory drives conscious access of matching visual input
Number of pages
SourceScientific Reports, 9, (2019), article 4793
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
Maintaining information in visual working memory (VWM) biases attentional selection of concurrent visual input, by favoring VWM-matching over VWM-mismatching visual input. Recently, it was shown that this bias disappears when the same item is memorized on consecutive occasions (as memoranda presumably transit from VWM to long-term memory), but reemerges when observers anticipate to memorize a novel item on a subsequent trial. Here, we aimed to conceptually replicate and extend this intriguing finding, by investigating whether prospectively reinstated memory drives conscious access of memory-matching visual input. We measured the time it took for participants to detect interocularly suppressed target stimuli, which were either from the same color category as a concurrently memorized color or not. Our results showed that the advantage of memory-matching targets in overcoming suppression progresses non-monotonically across consecutive memorizations of the same color ('repetitions'): the advantage for memory-matching visual input initially declined to asymptote, before being fully revived on the last repetition. This revival was not observed in a control experiment in which targets were not interocularly suppressed. The results suggest that, as observers anticipate to memorize a novel item imminently, VWM usage is prospectively reinstated, causing memory-matching visual input to gain accelerated access to consciousness again.
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