Consciousness and cognition | 4 Mar 2014
TK Jantz, JJ Tomory, C Merrick, S Cooper, A Gazzaley and E Morsella
Although it is well accepted that working memory (WM) is intimately related to consciousness, little research has illuminated the liaison between the two phenomena. To investigate this under-explored nexus, we used an imagery monitoring task to investigate the subjective aspects of WM performance. Specifically, in two experiments, we examined the effects on consciousness of (a) holding in mind information having a low versus high memory load, and (b) holding memoranda in mind during the presentation of distractors (e.g., visual stimuli associated with a response incompatible with that of the memoranda). Higher rates of rehearsal (conscious imagery) occurred in the high load and distractor conditions than in comparable control conditions. Examination of the temporal properties of the rehearsal-based imagery revealed that, across subjects, imagery events occurred evenly throughout the delay. We hope that future variants of this new imagery monitoring task will reveal additional insights about WM, consciousness, and action control.
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