The following is a summary of “Sustained attention required for effective dimension-based retro-cue benefit in visual working memory,” published in the May 2023 issue of Ophthalmology by Liu, et al.
For a study, researchers sought to determine whether sustained attention is a prerequisite for the dimension-based retro-cue benefit (RCB) in visual working memory (VWM) tasks. They examined the effects of perceptual interference or cognitive interruption on the dimension-based RCB during different stages of VWM processing.
Experiments were conducted to assess the impact of interference or interruption on the dimension-based RCB. Perceptual interference was introduced using masks, while cognitive interruption was implemented through an odd-even task. The interference or interruption occurred concurrently with either the maintenance stage, involving a long cue-and-interference/interruption interstimulus interval, or the attention deployment stage, involving a short cue-and-interference/interruption interstimulus interval.
The study included four experiments and demonstrated that perceptual interference or cognitive interruption diminished the dimension-based RCB. The attenuation of the RCB was observed when interference or interruption was introduced during either the maintenance or attention deployment stages.
Based on the findings, sustained attention was necessary to prioritize a specific VWM representation dimension. Perceptual interference or cognitive interruption during VWM tasks impairs the dimension-based RCB, indicating the crucial role of sustained attention in optimizing performance in these tasks.