Poster A41, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Reward’s role in memory-based visual search
Daniel Schneider1, Claudia Bonmassar2, Clayton Hickey2; 1Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, TU Dortmund, 2Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento
A cue indicating the possibility of cash reward will cause participants to perform memory-based visual search more efficiently. Thus if participants know there is money to be earned, they will be fast and accurate in finding a remembered object in a search display. Recent results suggest that this performance benefit might reflect the use of multiple memory systems: when needed, participants can maintain the to-be-remembered object in both long-term memory and visual working memory. This redundancy leads to better identification during search (Reinhart, McClenahan & Woodman, Psychological Science 2016, 27(6), 790-798). Here we test this compelling hypothesis. We had participants complete a memory-based visual search task where a cue informing them of the possibility of reward either preceded presentation of the to-be-remembered target (pre-cue) or followed it (retro-cue). If the reward cue impacts the maintenance of objects in memory, our expectation was that both cue types would enhance representation of the object in visual memory. We tracked memory representation using two components of the ERP: contralateral delay activity (CDA), reflecting visual working memory, and anterior P1, reflecting long-term storage. Results show that only the pre-cue impacted memory. Importantly, both cue types elicited equivalent frontal ERP components associated with reward processing and impacted visual search behavior and associated ERP components in the same way. These results suggest that reward’s impact on memory-based visual search is not solely mediated by a refining of memory representations, but also through the motivation of a broad investment of effort and cognitive resources.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory