Niklaus Marcel, Singmann Henrik, Oberauer Klaus (2019), Two distinct mechanisms of selection in working memory: Additive last-item and retro-cue benefits, in Cognition
, 183, 282-302.
Souza Alessandra S., Thalmann Mirko, Oberauer Klaus (2018), The precision of spatial selection into the focus of attention in working memory, in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
, 25(6), 2281-2288.
Niklaus M., Nobre A. C., van Ede F. (2017), Feature-based attentional weighting and spreading in visual working memory, in Scientific Reports
, 7, 42384.
Shepherdson Peter, Oberauer Klaus, Souza Alessandra S. (2017), Working Memory Load and the Retro-Cue Effect: A Diffusion Model Account., in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Kessler Yoav, Oberauer Klaus (2015), Forward scanning in verbal working memory updating, in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review
Kessler Yoav, Oberauer Klaus (2014), Working Memory Updating Latency Reflects the Cost of Switching Between Maintenance and Updating Modes of Operation, in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition
, (3), 738-754.
Working memory is a system of limited capacity that holds a small number of mental representations available for ongoing processing. As such, working memory is the blackboard of thought. Processing information in working memory involves selective access to some of its contents; this is the function of a focus of attention directed at working-memory contents. Building on our own previous experiments and recent research by others, we ask three questions: (1) Do different experimental paradigms used to study the focus of attention in working memory reflect the same mechanism? Some recent findings give reason to doubt this, and we therefore plan experiments combining different paradigms. (2) What is the function of the focus of attention? Previous work has shown that in recognition tasks, stimuli are compared to all contents of working memory in parallel. Nevertheless, recognition performance is improved if the content most relevant for the recognition decision is focused ahead of time. We also investigate the contribution of focused attention to selective strengthening of memory contents during a retention interval. (3) Under which circumstances are memory contents that are no longer relevant removed from working memroy? We test the hypothesis that irrelevant contents can be removed if they form a coherent subset already at encoding, and if the focus of attention is free to engage in active removal.