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Attention and Memory

Behavior in a variety of visually guided tasks—from remembering a few objects to executing complex activities—is strongly influenced by the interplay between attention and memory. This entry highlights these interactions as we process our visual surroundings. Reflecting the corpus of scientific literature, the primary focus of this entry will be on short-term memory, although some interactions with long-term memory will also be described. Specifically, the focus is on the role of attention in determining the contents of visual memory, and, reciprocally, the role of visual memory in controlling attention during perceptually guided tasks.

As the following sections show, the likelihood that an object is represented in visual short-term memory (VSTM) is related to the amount of attention it receives during initial perceptual processing. Once in ...

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