The Flexibility of Episodic Long-Term Memory-Guided Attention and the Impact of Reinstating Context

Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph

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Title The Flexibility of Episodic Long-Term Memory-Guided Attention and the Impact of Reinstating Context
Creator Segal, Diana
Plater, Lindsay
Al-Aidroos, Naseem
Fiacconi, Chris
Description While it may seem that salient visual events, like the flashing lights on an ambulance, can automatically capture our attention, capture is actually under our control. Depending on our current internal goals, we adopt attentional control settings (ACSs) that specify what stimuli in the environment capture our attention. It has been shown that ACSs can be defined based on long-term episodic memory representations. For example, when searching for the items on your grocery list, an ACS can be specified based on your long-term memory of the list, such that your attention will be drawn to those items, and only those items. Importantly, episodic memories incorporate contextual information that can enhance recall when reinstated (e.g., you will remember your grocery list better if it was memorized at the grocery store rather than at home). Here we asked whether reinstating context can enhance the establishment of long-term memory ACSs. Participants memorized two sets of 15 images of objects in a particular context (i.e., a coloured box in a particular spatial location), that they then searched for, inducing an episodic-based ACS for those objects. During the search task, this encoding context was either reinstated, or not. We found that individuals are able to flexibly switch between ACSs and sources of information. However, we did not find sufficient evidence for the effect of context on the establishment of ACSs or their flexibility. This study extends our understanding of the factors that influence memory-guided attention, and the impact of contextual reinstatement on the formation of ACSs.
Publisher University of Guelph
Date 2019-08-08
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Format application/pdf
Source SURG Journal; Vol 11 (2019)
Language eng
Rights Copyright (c) 2019 Diana Segal, Lindsay Plater, Naseem Al-Aidroos, Chris Fiacconi

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