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Durham University



Publication details for Dr Daniel Smith

Smith, Daniel T. & Lane, Alison R. (2017). Working memory enhances target detection in the blind hemifield. Visual Cognition 25(1-3): 4-9.

Author(s) from Durham


Visual perception can be influenced by the content of working memory. Previous studies have shown this influence can be enough to improve unconscious visual discrimination in healthy participants and conscious visual discrimination in neuropsychological patients with extinction. Here, these findings are extended by examining the effects of holding an object in working memory on unconscious visual perception in a person with hemianopia. The results revealed significantly enhanced detection accuracy when there was an exact match between the colour and orientation of the discrimination target and the item in working memory. However, the facilitatory effect was greatly reduced when only colour or orientation was matched with the item being held in memory. A control experiment confirmed these effects were not due to visual priming. These results are consistent with the proposal that working memory guided perceptual facilitation is driven by signal enhancement. More broadly, the data are interpreted in terms of a biased competition account of visual perception.

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