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Title

What do people typically do between list items? The nature of attention-based mnemonic activities depends on task context

Authors
Ricker, Timothy J.
Cowan, Nelson
Published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 2018
Abstract It is commonly assumed that attention-demanding post-encoding processes take place during the free time immediately following encoding of each memory item in a list. These processes are thought to prevent loss of information from working memory (WM). We tested whether inter-item pauses during presentation of a list are used to focus attention (1) on the last-presented memory item or (2) on all items currently in WM, and (3) whether this changes over time. Here, we presented black probe letters between to-be-remembered red letters. Participants judged whether each probe letter corresponded to the last-presented memory item (last-item match group) or to any of the memory items presented up to that point in the list (any-item match group). To examine mnemonic processing as a function of time, the delay between the to-be-remembered letter and the following probe was manipulated in three experiments. When pre-probe delays and inter-item intervals were relatively short (Experiment 1), recall performance was observed to be better in the last-item match group and this did not change as a function of the duration of the delay before the probe. When pre-probe delays and inter-item intervals were longer however (Experiment 2), this disruptive effect of Any-item match instructions was no longer observed. This pattern was found again in Experiment 3 and suggests that the nature of the attention-demanding post-encoding processes taking place in between memory items depends on task context in a systematic manner. The results are discussed in terms of previously proposed attention-demanding processes; specifically, consolidation and refreshing.
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Structures
Research group Psychologie du développement cognitif (DeCoPsy)
Projects FNS: P300P1_154611 & PZ001_154911
NICHD Grant R01-HD-21338
Citation
(ISO format)
VERGAUWE, Evie et al. What do people typically do between list items? The nature of attention-based mnemonic activities depends on task context. In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 2018. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:109642

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Deposited on : 2018-10-23

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