Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2006 Mar;32(2):197-214.

Is the focus of attention in working memory expanded through practice?

Author information

1
Department of PsychologyUniversity of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany. k.oberauer@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

This article reinvestigates the claim by P. Verhaeghen, J. Cerella, and C. Basak (2004) that the focus of attention in working memory can be expanded from 1 to 4 items through practice. Using a modified version of Verhaeghen et al.'s n-back paradigm, Experiments 1 and 3 show that a signature of a one-item focus, the time cost for switching between items in working memory, persists over practice. Verhaeghen et al. reported a shift over practice from a step function to a linear slope of reaction times over set size and argued that it reflects the expansion of the focus. With an improved counterbalancing scheme, a continuously increasing slope was found even without practice in Experiment 2. The results question the hypothesis that the focus is expanded through practice. They are in line with predictions from a model that distinguishes a one-item focus from a direct-access region holding about 4 items.

PMID:
16569141
DOI:
10.1037/0278-7393.32.2.197
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center