Getting value out of working memory through strategic prioritisation : implications for storage and control

Allen, Richard John and Atkinson, Amy L. and Hitch, Graham J. (2024) Getting value out of working memory through strategic prioritisation : implications for storage and control. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

Working memory is an active system responsible for “the temporary maintenance and processing of information in the support of cognition and action” (Baddeley et al., 2021). In keeping with this, a growing body of research has explored the close links between working memory and attention, and how these might be harnessed to impact performance and possibly improve working memory efficiency. This is theoretically and practically important, given that working memory is a central hub in complex cognition yet is extremely capacity- and resource-limited. We review work carried out over the last ten years or so looking at how high ‘value’ items in working memory can be strategically prioritised through selective attention, drawing principally from visual working memory paradigms with young adult participants, while also discussing how the core effects extend to different task domains and populations. A consistent set of core findings emerges, with improved memory for items that are allocated higher ‘value’ but no change in overall task performance, and a recency advantage regardless of point allocation when items are encountered sequentially. Value-directed prioritisation is effortful, under top-down strategic control, and appears to vary with perceptual distraction and executive load. It is driven by processes operating during encoding, maintenance, and retrieval, though the extent to which these are influenced by different features of the task context remain to be mapped out. We discuss implications for working memory, attention, and strategic control, and note some possible future directions of travel for this promising line of research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
Subjects:
?? no - not fundedneuropsychology and physiological psychologypsychology(all)experimental and cognitive psychologyphysiologyphysiology (medical) ??
ID Code:
220960
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 Jun 2024 14:50
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
14 Jun 2024 01:36