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Title [sv]
Ett nytt perspektiv på arbetsminne och dess relation till uppmärksamhet och inlärning
Title [en]
A new perspective on working memory and its relation to attention and learning
Abstract [en]
Working memory is often defined as the ability to maintain and manipulate information that is currently held in mind, and current views suggest that many complex human behaviors, including selective attention and the ability to withstand distraction, depend on working memory capacity. We will aim to show (1) that working memory capacity should be viewed as a trait capacity for focal-task engagementâ??not as a resource for distraction controlâ??to better accommodate empirical evidence, and (2) that working memory load shields against distraction from peripheral information but also comes with a cost associated with impaired learning of information and regularities present in the periphery. We will conduct 9 carefully controlled laboratory experiments. In each experiment, working memory load is manipulated with a visual-verbal version of the so-called n-back task. Here, participants view a sequence of items (e.g., letters) and their task is to decide, in response to each item, whether it is the same item as the one presented n steps back in the sequence. Working memory load is high, when the size of n is high. In experiment series 1, we test the effects of working memory load on the tendency to allocate attention to irrelevant visual information presented in close proximity with the visual targets in the n-back task, and the effects of load on incidental memory of words presented auditorily. In experiment series 2, we test the effects of working memory load on the tendency to learn associations between stimuli in the background environment (as indexed by eyeblink conditioning and the Hebb repetition effect). In experiment series 3, we test the effects of working memory load on habituation processes. The overarching hypotheses of the series of experiments are: (1) high working memory load impairs memory of information presented in the background/periphery and (2) this effect of working memory load is greater in magnitude amongst individuals with high working memory capacity in comparison with their low capacity counterparts. The project is led by Dr. Sörqvist (principal investigator and research director at the University of Gävle) and Dr. Marsh (co-applicant, employed at the University of Central Lancashire, and guest researcher at the University of Gävle). The current project is interwoven with the projects of two internally founded PhD students at the University of Gävle who will also partake to fulfil their degree requirements. The experiments will be conducted over a 3-year period at the University of Gävle, in laboratory facilities equipped with a Tobii TX300 eyetracker system, that will be used in experiment series 1 and 3 to record eyemovements and pupillometry, and a San Diego National Instruments eyeblink conditioning system that will be used in experiment series 2. Working memory is a fundamental concept in modern views of human mental life. The concept takes a central position within cognitive psychology, social psychology and other of psychology's sub-disciplines. Thus, understanding the functional characteristics of working memory and its relation to attention and learning has substantial implications for psychology in general. We expect to delineate a unified model of working memory, attention and learning that also embodies a novel view of individual differences in working memory capacity. This model differs from two other prominent views in cognitive psychology: Lavie's load theory that proposes that high working memory load increases (as opposed to our view) distraction and Engle's executive attention view of working memory capacity that proposes that high capacity shields against distraction because high-capacity individuals have more resources available to combat distraction.
Publications (8 of 8) Show all publications
Marsh, J. E., Hansson, P., Eriksson Sörman, D. & Körning Ljungberg, J. (2019). Executive Processes Underpin the Bilingual Advantage on Phonemic Fluency: Evidence from Analyses of Switching and Clustering. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article ID 1355.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Executive Processes Underpin the Bilingual Advantage on Phonemic Fluency: Evidence from Analyses of Switching and Clustering
2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 10, article id 1355Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bilinguals often show a disadvantage in lexical access on verbal fluency tasks wherein the criteria require the production of words from semantic categories. However, the pattern is more heterogeneous for letter (phonemic) fluency wherein the task is to produce words beginning with a given letter. Here, bilinguals often outperform monolinguals. One explanation for this is that phonemic fluency, as compared with semantic fluency, is more greatly underpinned by executive processes and that bilinguals exhibit better performance on phonemic fluency due to better executive functions. In this study, we re-analyzed phonemic fluency data from the Betula study, scoring outputs according to two measures that purportedly reflect executive processes: clustering and switching. Consistent with the notion that bilinguals have superior executive processes and that these can be used to offset a bilingual disadvantage in verbal fluency, bilinguals (35-65 years at baseline) demonstrated greater switching and clustering throughout the 15-year study period.

Keywords
aging; bilingualism; executive function; longitudinal study; phonemic fluency
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29724 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01355 (DOI)000471303800001 ()31244740 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85068690283 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, 1988-0082:17Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, J2001-0682Swedish Research Council, 421-2011-1782Swedish Research Council, 345-2003-3883Swedish Research Council, 315-2004-6977Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2211-0505Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, KAW 2014.0205
Note

Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research (FRN) Grant no:s: D1988-0092, D1989-0115, D1990-0074, D1991-0258, D1992-0143, D1997-0756, D1997-1841, D1999-0739, B1999-474 

Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant no. F377/1988-2000 

Swedish Council for Social Research Grant no. 1988-1990: 88-0082 311/1991-2000 

Available from: 2019-06-09 Created: 2019-06-09 Last updated: 2019-08-23Bibliographically approved
Marsh, J. E., Campbell, T. A., Vachon, F., Taylor, P. J. & Hughes, R. W. (2019). How the deployment of visual attention modulates auditory distraction. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How the deployment of visual attention modulates auditory distraction
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2019 (English)In: Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, ISSN 1943-3921, E-ISSN 1943-393XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Classically, attentional selectivity has been conceptualized as a passive by-product of capacity-limits on stimulus-processing. Here, we examine the role of more active cognitive control processes in attentional selectivity, focusing on how distraction from task-irrelevant sound is modulated by levels of task-engagement in a visually-presented short-term memory task. Task-engagement was varied by manipulating the load involved in the encoding of the (visually-presented) to-be-remembered items. Using a list of Navon letters (where a large letter is composed of smaller, different-identity, letters), participants were oriented to attend and serially recall the list of large letters (low encoding-load) or to attend and serially recall the list of small letters (high encoding-load). Attentional capture by a single deviant noise burst within a task-irrelevant tone sequence (the deviation effect) was eliminated under high encoding-load (Experiment 1). However, distraction from a continuously changing sequence of tones (the changing-state effect) was immune to the influence of load (Experiment 2). This dissociation in the amenability of the deviation effect and the changing-state effect to cognitive control supports a duplex- over a unitary-mechanism account of auditory distraction in which the deviation effect is due to attentional capture while the changing-state effect reflects direct interference between the processing of the sound and processes involved in the focal task. That the changing-state effect survives high encoding-load also goes against an alternative explanation of the attenuation of the deviation effect under high load in terms of the depletion of a limited perceptual resource that would result in diminished auditory processing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Selective attention, cognitive control, auditory distraction, attentional capture, interference-by-process
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29820 (URN)10.3758/s13414-019-01800-w (DOI)2-s2.0-85068928972 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2019-06-12 Created: 2019-06-12 Last updated: 2019-11-27Bibliographically approved
Marois, A., Marsh, J. E. & Vachon, F. (2019). Is auditory distraction by changing-state and deviant sounds underpinned by the same mechanism?: Evidence from pupillometry. Biological Psychology, 141, 64-74
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is auditory distraction by changing-state and deviant sounds underpinned by the same mechanism?: Evidence from pupillometry
2019 (English)In: Biological Psychology, ISSN 0301-0511, E-ISSN 1873-6246, Vol. 141, p. 64-74Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The mere presence of task-irrelevant auditory stimuli is known to interfere with cognitive functioning. Disruption can be caused by changing auditory distractors (the changing-state effect) or by a sound that deviates from the auditory background (the deviation effect). The unitary account of auditory distraction explains both phenomena in terms of attentional capture whereas the duplex-mechanism account posits that they reflect two fundamentally different forms of distraction in which only the deviation effect is caused by attentional capture. To test these predictions, we exploited a physiological index of attention orienting: the pupillary dilation response (PDR). Participants performed visual serial recall while ignoring sequences of spoken letters. These sequences either comprised repeated or changing letters, and one letter could sometimes be replaced by pink noise (the deviant). Recall was poorer in both changing-state and deviant trials. Interestingly, the PDR was elicited by deviant sounds but not changing-state sounds, while a tonic increase in pupil size was found throughout changing-state trials. This physiological dissociation of the changing-state and the deviation effects suggests they are subtended by distinct mechanisms thereby procuring support for the duplex-mechanism account over the unitary account. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
Keywords
Attention capture, Auditory distraction, Interference-by-process, Irrelevant sound, Pupillometry, adult, Article, auditory stimulation, auditory system function, behavior, cognition, female, human, human experiment, male, noise, normal human, priority journal, pupil, recall, sound, steady state, task performance, attention, hearing, masking, orientation, physiology, procedures, psychology, young adult, Acoustic Stimulation, Auditory Perception, Humans, Mental Recall, Perceptual Masking
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30512 (URN)10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.01.002 (DOI)000456014300008 ()30633950 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85059804020 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116
Available from: 2019-08-16 Created: 2019-08-16 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
Campbell, T. A. & Marsh, J. E. (2019). On corticopetal-corticofugal loops of the new early filter: from cell assemblies to the rostral brainstem. NeuroReport, 30(3), 202-206
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On corticopetal-corticofugal loops of the new early filter: from cell assemblies to the rostral brainstem
2019 (English)In: NeuroReport, ISSN 0959-4965, E-ISSN 1473-558X, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 202-206Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NLM (Medline), 2019
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29374 (URN)10.1097/WNR.0000000000001184 (DOI)000459194800010 ()30702551 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85060958439 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116
Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-08-12Bibliographically approved
Hughes, R. W. & Marsh, J. E. (2019). When is forewarned forearmed?: Predicting auditory distraction in short-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When is forewarned forearmed?: Predicting auditory distraction in short-term memory
2019 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Two experiments critically examined a predictive-coding based account of the vulnerability of short-term memory to auditory distraction, particularly the disruptive effect of changing-state sound on verbal serial recall. Experiment 1 showed that providing participants with the opportunity to predict the contents of an imminent spoken distractor sentence via a forewarning reduced its particularly disruptive effect but only to the same level of disruption as that produced by ‘simpler’ changing-state sequences (a sequence of letter-names). Moreover, a post-categorically unpredictable changing-state sequence (e.g., “F, B, H, E …”) was no more disruptive than a post-categorically predictable sequence (“A, B, C, D …”). Experiment 2 showed that a sentence distractor was disruptive regardless of whether participants reported adopting a serial rehearsal strategy to perform the focal task (in this case, a missing-item task) whereas, critically, the disruptive effect of simpler changing-state sequences was only found in participants who reported using a serial rehearsal strategy. Moreover, when serial rehearsal was not used to perform the focal task, the disruptive effect of sentences was completely abolished by a forewarning. These results indicate that predictability plays no role in the classical changing-state irrelevant sound effect and that foreknowledge selectively attenuates a functionally distinct stimulus-specific attentional-diversion effect. As such, the results are at odds with a unitary, attentional, account of auditory distraction in short-term memory and instead strongly support a duplex-mechanism account.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2019
Keywords
Auditory distraction, serial recall, predictive coding, short-term memory, interference-by-process, duplex-mechanism account
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29722 (URN)10.1037/xlm0000736 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2019-06-09 Created: 2019-06-09 Last updated: 2019-08-12Bibliographically approved
Richter, H., Forsman, M., Elcadi, G. H., Brautaset, R., Marsh, J. E. & Zetterberg, C. (2018). Prefrontal cortex activity evoked by convergence load under conflicting stimulus-to-accommodation and stimulus-to-vergence eye-movements measured by NIRS: Prefrontal cortex oxygenation and visual fatigue. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, Article ID 298.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prefrontal cortex activity evoked by convergence load under conflicting stimulus-to-accommodation and stimulus-to-vergence eye-movements measured by NIRS: Prefrontal cortex oxygenation and visual fatigue
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2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 12, article id 298Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: To extend our knowledge of the functional linkages between visual fatigueand regional cerebral prefrontal cortex (PFC) oxygenation, we measured time related hemodynamic changes over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) duringconvergence load under conflicting stimulus-to-accommodation and stimulus-tovergence eye movements with and without concurrent mental load.

Methods: Twenty healthy participants with a median age of 28 years (range:18–44 years) fixated upon a vertical bar presented separately to the left andright eyes, using polarized filters, during four counterbalanced 10-min periods:(i) no accommodation/vergence conflict (Control, Ctrl); (ii) added convergenceload and accommodation/vergence conflict (Conv); (iii) added cognitive load only(Cog) and; (iv) a combination of added cognitive and convergence load andaccommodation/vergence conflict (Cc). Viewing distance was 65 cm. Non-invasivemeasurements of hemodynamic activity over the dlPFC were quantified by functionalnear-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). During the two-convergence load conditions, thehorizontal disparity of the two bars varied dynamically from no disparity to a disparityset 20% below the individual threshold for diplopia. Cognitive load was induced by then-back-2 test which required the subject to memorize and recall the changing colorsof the horizontal bars and decide when a given color was the same as that occurring two colors previously. fNIRS data were averaged over 10-s windows centered at 0, 2,4, 6, 8, and 10 min of each task, subtracted from a 20-s baseline window immediatelypreceding the visual task, and then represented as changes in oxygenated hemoglobin(ΔHbO2); deoxygenated hemoglobin (ΔHHb) and total hemoglobin (ΔtHb).

Results: Linear mixed model analyses showed that hemodynamic activity wassystematically influenced by time (p < 0.001). The group-averaged time-related levelof change across the viewing conditions did not differ when compared with one another(p > 0.05). Larger convergence eye-movement responses under conflicting stimulus-to accommodation,and stimulus-to-vergence over time, increased ΔHbO2 and ΔtHb onlyin condition Cc and after 8 min of task time (p < 0.10 for min-6 and min-8: p < 0.05 for min-10).

Discussion: Collectively, our data suggest that HbO2, HHb, and tHb, recorded over the dlPFC with fNIRS, can be used to assay the degree to which supervisory oculomotorcontrol processes are activated during visually deficient near work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2018
Keywords
Visual fatigue, Accommodation, Compensatory effort, Convergence, Disparity, Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Time series analysis, Visual ergonomics
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25766 (URN)10.3389/fnhum.2018.00298 (DOI)000440216100002 ()30104967 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85054772976 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-1761Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116
Note

Corrigendum: Prefrontal Cortex Oxygenation Evoked by Convergence Load Under Conflicting Stimulus-to-Accommodation and Stimulus-to-Vergence Eye-Movements Measured by NIRS DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00384

ScopusId: 2-s2.0-85054817559ISI-id: 000445088000001 PubMedID: 30271336

Available from: 2017-12-08 Created: 2017-12-08 Last updated: 2019-08-28Bibliographically approved
Sörqvist, P., Dahlström, Ö., Karlsson, T. & Rönnberg, J. (2016). Concentration: the neural underpinnings of how cognitive load shields against distraction. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, Article ID 221.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Concentration: the neural underpinnings of how cognitive load shields against distraction
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 10, article id 221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Whether cognitive load and other aspects of task difficulty increases or decreases distractibility is subject of much debate in contemporary psychology. One camp argues that cognitive load usurps executive resources, which otherwise could be used for attentional control, and therefore cognitive load increases distraction. The other camp argues that cognitive load demands high levels of concentration (focal task engagement), which suppresses peripheral processing and therefore decreases distraction. In this article, we employed an functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) protocol to explore whether higher cognitive load in a visually-presented task suppresses task-irrelevant auditory processing in cortical and subcortical areas. The results show that selectively attending to an auditory stimulus facilitates its neural processing in the auditory cortex, and switching the locus-of-attention to the visual modality decreases the neural response in the auditory cortex. When the cognitive load of the task presented in the visual modality increases, the neural response to the auditory stimulus is further suppressed, along with increased activity in networks related to effortful attention. Taken together, the results suggest that higher cognitive load decreases peripheral processing of task-irrelevant information which decreases distractibility as a side effect of the increased activity in a focused-attention network.

Keywords
working memory, selective attention, concentration, cognitive load, distraction
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21437 (URN)10.3389/fnhum.2016.00221 (DOI)000376059100002 ()27242485 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84973334378 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2019-11-06Bibliographically approved
Nöstl, A., Sörqvist, P. & Marsh, J. (2013). Attentional Capture by Auditory Events: The role of Expectations. In: : . Paper presented at Cognitive Hearing Science, Linköping, Sweden, June 16-19 2013.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attentional Capture by Auditory Events: The role of Expectations
2013 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

By combining a modified version of the cross-modal oddball paradigm (Nöstl, Marsh, & Sörqvist, 2012) with sequence learning the current study examines how expectation processes contribute to distraction by auditory events. The visual targets in the oddball task were preceded by tones that formed a repetitive cross-trial standard sequence. In Experiment 1, the standard sequence …-660-440-660-880-… Hz was used. Occasionally, either the 440 Hz or the 880 Hz standard was replaced by one of two novel tones (220 Hz and 1100 Hz), that either differed slightly (220 Hz) or markedly (660 Hz) from the replaced standard. In Experiment 2, with a more complex standard tone sequence …-220-660-440-660-880-660-1100-… Hz, the 440 Hz and the 880 Hz standard was occasionally replaced by either the 220 Hz or the 1100 Hz standard. Both experiments demonstrate that a large difference (i.e. 660 Hz) between the expected and replacing tone is more captivating than a small difference (i.e. 220 Hz). Collectively the results imply that the magnitude of attentional capture elicited by novel sound events depends on the discrepancy between the novel event and the expected event rather than on the amount of local perceptual change.

National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-14879 (URN)
Conference
Cognitive Hearing Science, Linköping, Sweden, June 16-19 2013
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116
Available from: 2013-07-09 Created: 2013-07-09 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorSörqvist, Patrik
Co-InvestigatorNöstl, Anatole
Co-InvestigatorBarker, Melissa
Coordinating organisation
University of Gävle
Funder
Period
2016-01-01 - 2018-12-31
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:300Project, id: 2015-01116_VR

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