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VSS 2024 Talk Sumary

Switching to a new task triggers memory reactivation

Repeating the same memory item results in a handoff from working memory (WM) to long-termmemory (LTM). However, anticipating a task switch results in the reactivation of the task-relevant item in WM.

Click here for Şentürk et al. (2024).


Smaller reactivation when anticipating visual search vs recognition

Most models of attention assume a critical role of WM in guiding attention. Moreover, within WM, information prepared for visual search received more (internal) attention than information prepared for recognition (eg., van Driel et al., 2016). However, when information in LTM, it is reactivated in WM less when preparing for visual search compared to recognition. This could be either because LTM is more effective for search or by relying on LTM to store the search target, more WM resources are left to perform the search task.

Click here for our preprint, Yücel et al. (2024).


Switching to a new context triggers memory reactivation

It is not just a new task though. Switching to a novel context, despite being task-irrelevant, also triggers memory reactivation. We believe that this reflects adaptive functions of WM.

Click here for our preprint.


Equal reactivation when anticipating interference

How do you prepare for anticipated interference for information available in LTM? On one hand, you can place it in the focus of attention, which is suggested to be robust. On the other hand, you can keep it in a passive memory state where it would be free from interference due to trying to coexist in the sensory representational space.

It turns out neither is the case. People reactivate memories to the same extent whether anticipating interfence or not. There could be two groups of participants though. One that prepare via reactivating, the other via relying on passive traces. Our ongoing follow-up will tell.

Click here for preprint.

Fig 3B CDA Violin pre Interfeence.png
When does working memory reactivate long-term memories?

Anticipating a visual search task vs recognition                                                    Less reactivation

Anticipating perceptual interference vs no interference                                     Equal reactivation

Anticipating dual-task interference vs no interference                                       Equal reactivation

Anticipating a task-switch vs task repeat                                                               More reactivation

Anticipating a context switch vs context repeat                                                     More reactivation

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