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The role of working memory and long-term memory in visual search

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Models of attentional deployment in visual search commonly specify that the short-term, or working memory, system plays a central role in biasing attention mechanisms to select task relevant information. In contrast, the role of long-term memory in guiding search is rarely articulated. Our review of recent studies calls for the need to revisit how existing models explain the role of working memory and long-term memory in search. First, the role of working memory in guiding attentional selection and search is much more complex than many current theories propose. Second, both explicit and implicit long-term memory representations have such clear influences on visual search performance that they deserve more prominent treatment in theoretical models. These new findings in the literature should stir the conception of new models of visual search.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA 2: Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2006


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