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Top-down feedback from working memory (WM) can exert an early and involuntary influence on visual selection for targets that are relatively difficult to discriminate [Soto, D., Heinke, D., Humphreys, G. W., & Blanco, M. J. (2005) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 248]. Here, we demonstrate similar effects even on search for a pop-out target. At the beginning of each trial, participants memorized a prime that could contain either the search target or a distracter in the subsequent search array. Targets and distractors were easily discriminable. Despite this, the prime in WM affected responses latencies and the direction of the first saccade. Top-down search, guided by the contents of WM, can modulate selection even when salient bottom-up cues are present.

Original publication




Journal article


Vision Res

Publication Date





1010 - 1018


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Field Dependence-Independence, Fixation, Ocular, Humans, Memory, Short-Term, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Saccades