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Visual working memory retains visual information for controlling behavior. We studied how information in visual working memory is prioritized for being used. In two experiments, participants memorized the stimuli of a memory display for a brief interval, followed by a retro-cue. The retro-cue was either valid, indicating which stimulus from the memory display was relevant (i.e., had priority) in the upcoming comparison with a probe, or was neutral (uninformative). Next, the probe was presented, terminated by a mask, and participants reported whether it matched a stimulus from the memory display. The presentation duration of the probe was varied. Assessing performance as a function of presentation duration allowed to disentangle two components of working memory: memory retention and the speed of processing the probe for the memory-based comparison. Compared with neutral retro-cues, valid retro-cues improved retention and at the same time accelerated processing of the probe. These findings show for the first time that prioritization in working memory impacts on distinct mechanisms: retrospectively, it supports memory retention, and prospectively, it enhances perceptual processing in upcoming comparison tasks.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cognitive processing
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Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory.
Type of declarative memory, consisting of personal memory in contrast to general knowledge.
Disturbances in registering an impression, in the retention of an acquired impression, or in the recall of an impression. Memory impairments are associated with DEMENTIA; CRANIOCEREBRAL TRAUMA; ENCEPHALITIS; ALCOHOLISM (see also ALCOHOL AMNESTIC DISORDER); SCHIZOPHRENIA; and other conditions.
A neuropsychological test designed to assess different memory functions. It may incorporate an optional cognitive exam (Brief Cognitive Status Exam) that helps to assess memory related cognitive function.
Neurological process involving the conversion of learned information into long-term memory.