The relationship between working memory and the dual-target cost in visual search guidance

Menneer, Tamaryn and Cave, Kyle R and Kaplan, Elina and Stroud, Michael J and Chang, Junha and Donnelly, Nick (2019) The relationship between working memory and the dual-target cost in visual search guidance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45 (7). pp. 911-935. ISSN 1939-1277

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Searching for two targets produces a dual-target cost compared with single-target search, with reduced attentional guidance towards targets (Stroud, Menneer, Cave, & Donnelly, 2012). We explore the effect of holding a color in working memory (WM) on guidance in single-target search. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants searched for a T of a specific color while holding one of the following in WM: a color patch, a letter, a dot pattern, or an oriented bar. Only when holding a color in WM was guidance in single-target search affected as strongly as it is in dual-target search. In Experiment 3, the target changed color from trial to trial. A color in WM reduced guidance, but not to the extent of dual-target search. However, search and WM error rates were high, suggesting interference and incomplete engagement with the combined task. We conclude that the guidance cost in dual-target search is not solely due to attentional capture by the WM-color, because the WM-color can be effectively separated from search color, with little confusion between the two. However, WM load does cause substantial interference in guidance when both tasks involve color. These results illustrate the complex interactions between working memory and attentional guidance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's version of an article that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keywords: Working Memory, Visual Search
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Nick Donnelly
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2019 11:20
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 10:14

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