Siobhan’s 1st paper on “Oculomotor rehearsal in visuospatial working memory” published!

We were delighted that the first paper from Siobhan’s ESRC NINE DTP  grant finally came out in Attention, Perception and Psychophysics. The paper was a bit of a landmark for us both, as it was Siobhan first experiment and the first time either of us had tried to publish using the Registered Report format. This ended up being a very long processess, and towards the end we had a bit of scare becasue RRs were omitted from the JISC open access deal with Springer, but we got there in the end! The key take-home is that saccadic interference (making irrelvant eye-movements while trying to hold something in memory) causes a highly selective impairment spatial short term memory and does not affect visual short term memory. The novelty of our task was to (a) directly compare spatial and visual STM in the experiment using the same participants and the same task at encoding, but varying the task at recall (in one condition people recalled location, in the other they recalled colour) and (b) to show that, once you control for covert attention, the interference effect in spatial STM is explained by increased guessing. This is important, firstly because it suggests that saccadic interference increases the signal-to-noise of internal spatial maps that represent the memorised locations, rather than reducing the precision of memory representations per se. Secondly, the fact that visual STM was unaffected by saccadic interference is very hard to reconcile with slot models of VSWM. You can read the paper here, which is available gold open access, and

McAteer, S.M., McGregor, A. & Smith, D.T. Oculomotor rehearsal in visuospatial working memory. Atten Percept Psychophys (2022).

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