Individual differences in executive attention and inhibitory control are related to spatial memory biases in adults

Anne R. Schutte, Yinbo Wu, Morgan N. Jacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Executive attention is involved in working memory; however, the role of executive attention in the maintenance of information in spatial working memory is debated. This study examined whether inhibitory control was related to spatial working memory biases in adults in a simple spatial memory task where participants had to remember one location on an otherwise blank computer screen. On some trials, a distractor was presented during the maintenance period. Eighty-four participants completed the spatial working memory task and a battery of cognitive control measures. When a distractor was presented during the maintenance period of the spatial memory task, performance on two of the cognitive control measures, a measure of overall attention and a measure of inhibitory control was related to memory errors. When a distractor was not presented during the spatial memory task, memory errors were not related to performance on the cognitive control tasks. Overall, these effects demonstrated that attention is related to maintaining locations in spatial working memory in adults, and inhibitory control may also be related such that those with more efficient inhibitory control were less influenced by distractors presented during the maintenance period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • attention
  • inhibitory control
  • Spatial working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Physiology (medical)

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