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Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors.
J Cogn Neurosci. 2007 Jan; 19(1):32-41.JC

Abstract

Selective attention has been shown to bias sensory processing in favor of relevant stimuli and against irrelevant or distracting stimuli in perceptual tasks. Increasing evidence suggests that selective attention plays an important role during working memory maintenance, possibly by biasing sensory processing in favor of to-be-remembered items. In the current study, we investigated whether selective attention may also support working memory by biasing processing against irrelevant and potentially distracting information. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while subjects (n = 22) performed a delayed-recognition task for faces and shoes. The delay period was filled with face or shoe distractors. Behavioral performance was impaired when distractors were congruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during working memory for faces) relative to when distractors were incongruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during shoe working memory). If attentional biasing against distractor processing is indeed functionally relevant in supporting working memory maintenance, perceptual processing of distractors is predicted to be attenuated when distractors are more behaviorally intrusive relative to when they are nonintrusive. As such, we predicted that perceptual processing of distracting faces, as measured by the face-sensitive N170 ERP component, would be reduced in the context of congruent (face) working memory relative to incongruent (shoe) working memory. The N170 elicited by distracting faces demonstrated reduced amplitude during congruent versus incongruent working memory. These results suggest that perceptual processing of distracting faces may be attenuated due to attentional biasing against sensory processing of distractors that are most behaviorally intrusive during working memory maintenance.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Pennsylvania, PA 19104, USA.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

17214561

Citation

Sreenivasan, Kartik K., and Amishi P. Jha. "Selective Attention Supports Working Memory Maintenance By Modulating Perceptual Processing of Distractors." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 19, no. 1, 2007, pp. 32-41.
Sreenivasan KK, Jha AP. Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors. J Cogn Neurosci. 2007;19(1):32-41.
Sreenivasan, K. K., & Jha, A. P. (2007). Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(1), 32-41.
Sreenivasan KK, Jha AP. Selective Attention Supports Working Memory Maintenance By Modulating Perceptual Processing of Distractors. J Cogn Neurosci. 2007;19(1):32-41. PubMed PMID: 17214561.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors. AU - Sreenivasan,Kartik K, AU - Jha,Amishi P, PY - 2007/1/12/pubmed PY - 2007/3/22/medline PY - 2007/1/12/entrez SP - 32 EP - 41 JF - Journal of cognitive neuroscience JO - J Cogn Neurosci VL - 19 IS - 1 N2 - Selective attention has been shown to bias sensory processing in favor of relevant stimuli and against irrelevant or distracting stimuli in perceptual tasks. Increasing evidence suggests that selective attention plays an important role during working memory maintenance, possibly by biasing sensory processing in favor of to-be-remembered items. In the current study, we investigated whether selective attention may also support working memory by biasing processing against irrelevant and potentially distracting information. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while subjects (n = 22) performed a delayed-recognition task for faces and shoes. The delay period was filled with face or shoe distractors. Behavioral performance was impaired when distractors were congruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during working memory for faces) relative to when distractors were incongruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during shoe working memory). If attentional biasing against distractor processing is indeed functionally relevant in supporting working memory maintenance, perceptual processing of distractors is predicted to be attenuated when distractors are more behaviorally intrusive relative to when they are nonintrusive. As such, we predicted that perceptual processing of distracting faces, as measured by the face-sensitive N170 ERP component, would be reduced in the context of congruent (face) working memory relative to incongruent (shoe) working memory. The N170 elicited by distracting faces demonstrated reduced amplitude during congruent versus incongruent working memory. These results suggest that perceptual processing of distracting faces may be attenuated due to attentional biasing against sensory processing of distractors that are most behaviorally intrusive during working memory maintenance. SN - 0898-929X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/17214561/Selective_attention_supports_working_memory_maintenance_by_modulating_perceptual_processing_of_distractors_ L2 - https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/10.1162/jocn.2007.19.1.32?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -