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Visual working memory and attention: the role of retro-cue reliability


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Pisuljak, Domagoj. (2018). Visual working memory and attention: the role of retro-cue reliability. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Psychology. [mentor Ivanec, Dragutin].

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Visual working memory and selective attention are important mechanisms necessary for daily cognitive functioning. Studies of these two processes most frequently use the retro-cue paradigm. In that paradigm one of the stimuli previously stored in the respondents’ visual working memory is subsequently pointed out (cued). Studies show that bringing a stimulus into focus of attention using this method leads to an enhanced recall of that stimulus, increasing both the recall probability and the precision of recall. The goal of this study was to examine the role of retro-cue reliability on the recall of stimuli from visual working memory and to analyze possible underlying mechanisms. We conducted an experiment in which we manipulated the reliability of retro-cues and analyzed participants’ recall in situations when the retro-cue was valid and in situations when it was invalid. The results showed a significantly better recall of the stimulus brought into focus of attention with the retro-cue. In addition, the recall cost for the stimulus outside of the focus of attention varied depending on the reliability of the retro-cue and was considerably higher in the situation with highly reliable retro-cues. Further analysis of the correct recalls showed that participants were probably completely forgetting, i.e. removing, the uncued stimuli when the retro-cue was highly reliable. The precision of the target recall was also analyzed, but we did not find support for the attentional strengthening hypothesis, a hypothesis which states that larger amount of visual working memory resources is allocated to the cued stimuli.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: visual working memory, continuous resource models, retro-cue, removal hypothesis, attentional strengthening/refreshing hypothesis
Subjects: Psychology > Kognitivna psihologija
Departments: Department of Psychology
Supervisor: Ivanec, Dragutin
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 09:31
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 09:31

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