Poster B38, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Distinct influence of value-driven attentional capture when maintaining locations and spatial relations in working memory: An EEG study
Myranda Gormley1, Thomas Hinault1, Kara J. Blacker2, Brian A. Anderson3, Susan M. Courtney1; 1Johns Hopkins University, 2The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., 3Texas A&M University
Previous work has demonstrated distinct neural correlates for maintenance of abstract and sensory information in working memory (WM). These results suggest that sensory regions are suppressed during the maintenance of abstract information in WM. In the current study, we used electroencephalography to evaluate whether value-driven attentional capture (i.e., allocation of attention to a task-irrelevant feature previously associated with a reward) is modulated by the type of information maintained in WM. In a training phase, 19 participants learned to associate a color with reward. In the subsequent test phase, participants were presented squares and encoded their locations into WM. Participants were instructed to convert the spatial information either to another sensory representation (i.e., draw an imaginary line linking the squares) or to an abstract, relational representation (i.e., maintain which square was above the other one). During the WM delay period, task-irrelevant distractors in the previously-rewarded and non-rewarded colors were presented. Results revealed that after presentation of the distractors alpha power was greater over posterior electrode sides contralateral to the previously rewarded color compared to ipsilateral. In addition, we observed an N2pc component with more negative potential contralateral to the distractor in the previously rewarded color. These effects were found only during relational WM, but not during sensory WM, and only for the previously rewarded distractor color. These results likely reflect suppression of previously rewarded sensory information during maintenance of abstract information, and suggest that value-driven attentional capture differs as a function of the type of information maintained in WM.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory