Different states in visual working memory: when it guides attention and when it does not

C.N.L. Olivers, J. Peters, R. Houtkamp, P.R. Roelfsema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

513 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have revealed a strong relationship between visual working memory and selective attention, such that attention is biased by what is currently on our mind. However, other data show that not all memorized items influence the deployment of attention, thus calling for a distinction within working memory: whereas active memory items function as an attentional template and directly affect perception, other, accessory items do not. We review recent evidence that items compete for the status of 'attentional template' that contains only one object at a time. Neurophysiological results provide insight into these different memory states by revealing a more intricate organization of working memory than was previously thought
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in cognitive sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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