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  • Atkinson_et_al_value_directremember

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Why does the probe value effect emerge in working memory?: Examining the biased attentional refreshing account

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/01/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychonomic Bulletin and Review
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date28/01/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


People are able to prioritize more valuable information in working memory. The current study examined whether this value effect is due to the items of greater value being refreshed more than lower-value items during maintenance. To assess this possibility, we combined a probe value manipulation with a guided-refreshing procedure. Arrays of colored shapes were presented, and after a brief delay, participants reported the color of one randomly probed shape on a continuous color wheel. To manipulate probe value, one item was indicated as more valuable than the rest prior to encoding (i.e., worth more notional points), or all items were indicated as equally valuable. To guide refreshing, in some trials, two arrows were presented during maintenance, each arrow cueing the spatial location of one item. Participants were told to “think of” (i.e., refresh) the cued item. If value boosts are driven by attentional refreshing, cueing an item to be refreshed should enhance performance for items that are of low or equal value, but not items of high value, as these items would be refreshed regardless of the cue. This pattern of outcomes was observed, providing support for the hypothesis that attentional refreshing at least partially accounts for probe-value effects in working memory.