In contrast to the consensus that target template held in working memory (WM) can voluntarily guide the deployment of spatial attention, there has been recent controversy as to whether WM contents can also guide attention automatically. The present study attempted to assess the automaticity of WM effects on visual attention in a more controlled setting by precluding any potential strategic-influence on performance. Here, the occasionally presented memory-matching stimuli only overlapped with the memory items (i.e., memory matches were never identical to the to-be-memorized items), and the upcoming targets never appeared at the locations of the memory matches. Despite these, the color-matching objects still had a privileged status to capture attention, and this top-down effect on selection can be established in both consolidation and maintenance processes of WM. The author discussed the implications of these findings for understanding WM effects on visual selection.
Hangzhou Normal University