Flexible attention allocation to visual and auditory working memory tasks: manipulating reward induces a trade-off

Candice Coker Morey*, Nelson Cowan, Richard D. Morey, Jeffery N. Rouder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prominent roles for general attention resources are posited in many models of working memory, but the manner in which these can be allocated differs between models or is not sufficiently specified. We varied the payoffs for correct responses in two temporally-overlapping recognition tasks, a visual array comparison task and a tone sequence comparison task. In the critical conditions, an increase in reward for one task corresponded to a decrease in reward for the concurrent task, but memory load remained constant. Our results show patterns of interference consistent with a trade-off between the tasks, suggesting that a shared resource can be flexibly divided, rather than only fully allotted to either of the tasks. Our findings support a role for a domain-general resource in models of working memory, and furthermore suggest that this resource is flexibly divisible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-472
Number of pages15
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • change detection
  • SHORT-TERM-MEMORY
  • INFORMATION
  • POSTERIOR PARIETAL CORTEX
  • rewards
  • PROCESSING SYSTEM
  • STORAGE CAPACITY
  • RETRIEVAL
  • working memory
  • MODEL
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • attention
  • CONSOLIDATION
  • INTERFERENCE

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