The road to long-term memory: Top-down attention is more effective than bottom-up attention for forming long-term memories

Edyta Sasin, Daryl Fougnie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Does the strength of representations in long-term memory (LTM) depend on which type of attention is engaged? We tested participants’ memory for objects seen during visual search. We compared implicit memory for two types of objects—related-context nontargets that grabbed attention because they matched the target defining feature (i.e., color; top-down attention) and salient distractors that captured attention only because they were perceptually distracting (bottom-up attention). In Experiment 1, the salient distractor flickered, while in Experiment 2, the luminance of the salient distractor was alternated. Critically, salient and related-context nontargets produced equivalent attentional capture, yet related-context nontargets were remembered far better than salient distractors (and salient distractors were not remembered better than unrelated distractors). These results suggest that LTM depends not only on the amount of attention but also on the type of attention. Specifically, top-down attention is more effective in promoting the formation of memory traces than bottom-up attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Attentional capture
  • Bottom-up attention
  • Long-term memory
  • Top-down attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The road to long-term memory: Top-down attention is more effective than bottom-up attention for forming long-term memories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this