Recent studies have proposed that a common mechanism may underlie spatial attention and spatial working memory. One proposal is that spatial working memory is maintained by attention-based rehearsal [Awh, E., Jonides, J., & Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. (1998). Rehearsal in spatial working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 24(3), 780-790], and so a spatial attention shift during the retention interval of a spatial location should impair its memory performance. In the present study, participants engaged in single-item, parallel or serial search tasks while remembering a spatial location. Although memory tended to bias all searches, the need for an attentional shift during the retention interval impaired memory performance only in single-item search, but not in other searches. These findings suggest that previous evidence for the attention-based rehearsal account does not generalize to visual search. Results are discussed with regard to the relationship between spatial attention and spatial working memory.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a HKU Postgraduate Fellowship to LC, and by a grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (HKU 7649/06H) to WGH.
- Attention-based rehearsal
- Spatial working memory
- Visual search