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Paying attention to working memory: similarities in the spatial distribution of attention in mental and physical space

Muhammet Ikbal Sahan (UGent) , Tom Verguts (UGent) , Nico Böhler (UGent) , Gilles Pourtois (UGent) and Wim Fias (UGent)
(2016) PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW. 23(4). p.1190-1197
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The integrative neuroscience of behavioral control (Neuroscience)
Abstract
Selective attention is not limited to information that is physically present in the external world, but can also operate on mental representations in the internal world. However, it is not known whether mechanisms of attentional selection in mental space operate in a similar fashion as in physical space. We studied the spatial distribution of attention for items in physical and in mental space by comparing how successfully distracters were rejected at varying distances from the attended location. The results indicate very similar distribution characteristics of spatial attention in physical and mental space. Specifically, we found that performance monotonically improved with increasing distracter distance relative to the attended location suggesting that distracter confusability is particularly pronounced for nearby distracters relative to further away distracters. The present findings suggest that mental representations preserve their spatial configuration in working memory, and that similar mechanistic principles underlie selective attention in physical and mental space.
Keywords
distribution, orienting, distracter confusion, mental representations, spatial attention, working memory, SELECTIVE ATTENTION, SUPPRESSION, VISION

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Sahan, Muhammet Ikbal, Tom Verguts, Nico Böhler, Gilles Pourtois, and Wim Fias. 2016. “Paying Attention to Working Memory: Similarities in the Spatial Distribution of Attention in Mental and Physical Space.” Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 23 (4): 1190–1197.
APA
Sahan, M. I., Verguts, T., Böhler, N., Pourtois, G., & Fias, W. (2016). Paying attention to working memory: similarities in the spatial distribution of attention in mental and physical space. PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW, 23(4), 1190–1197.
Vancouver
1.
Sahan MI, Verguts T, Böhler N, Pourtois G, Fias W. Paying attention to working memory: similarities in the spatial distribution of attention in mental and physical space. PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW. 2016;23(4):1190–7.
MLA
Sahan, Muhammet Ikbal, Tom Verguts, Nico Böhler, et al. “Paying Attention to Working Memory: Similarities in the Spatial Distribution of Attention in Mental and Physical Space.” PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW 23.4 (2016): 1190–1197. Print.
@article{7197325,
  abstract     = {Selective attention is not limited to information that is physically present in the external world, but can also operate on mental representations in the internal world.  However, it is not known whether mechanisms of attentional selection in mental space operate in a similar fashion as in physical space.  We studied the spatial distribution of attention for items in physical and in mental space by comparing how successfully distracters were rejected at varying distances from the attended location.  The results indicate very similar distribution characteristics of spatial attention in physical and mental space.  Specifically, we found that performance monotonically improved with increasing distracter distance relative to the attended location suggesting that distracter confusability is particularly pronounced for nearby distracters relative to further away distracters.  The present findings suggest that mental representations preserve their spatial configuration in working memory, and that similar mechanistic principles underlie selective attention in physical and mental space.},
  author       = {Sahan, Muhammet Ikbal and Verguts, Tom and B{\"o}hler, Nico and Pourtois, Gilles and Fias, Wim},
  issn         = {1069-9384},
  journal      = {PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN \& REVIEW},
  keyword      = {distribution,orienting,distracter confusion,mental representations,spatial attention,working memory,SELECTIVE ATTENTION,SUPPRESSION,VISION},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {1190--1197},
  title        = {Paying attention to working memory: similarities in the spatial distribution of attention in mental and physical space},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-015-0990-5},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2016},
}

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