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Attentional distractor interference may be diminished by concurrent working memory load in normal participants and traumatic brain injury patients


, : Attentional distractor interference may be diminished by concurrent working memory load in normal participants and traumatic brain injury patients. Brain and Cognition 74(3): 298-305

A reduction in congruency effects under working memory (WM) load has been previously described using different attentional paradigms (e.g., Kim, Kim, & Chun, 2005; Smilek, Enns, Eastwood, & Merikle, 2006). One hypothesis is that different types of WM load have different effects on attentional selection, depending on whether a specific memory load demands resources in common with target or distractor processing. In particular, if information in WM is related to the distractors in the selective attention task, there is a reduction in distraction (Kim et al., 2005). However, although previous results seem to point to a decrease in interference under high WM load conditions (Kim et al., 2005), the lack of a neutral baseline for the congruency effects makes it difficult to differentiate between a decrease in interference or in facilitation. In the present work we included neutral trials in the task introduced by Kim et al. (2005) and tested normal participants and traumatic brain injury patients. Results support a reduction in the processing of distractors under WM load, at least for incongruent trials in both groups. Theoretical as well as applied implications are discussed.

US$19.90

PMID: 20846773

DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2010.08.009


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