Previous studies have shown that information held in working memory (WM) actively or as a residue of previous processing can lead to attentional capture by corresponding stimuli in the environment. Here, we compared attentional capture by goal-driven and residual WM activation and exam- ined how these effects are affected by dual-task interference. In two experiments, participants performed an animacy judg- ment task for a word that they did or did not have to remember for a later recognition test. The word was followed in half of the trials by an arithmetic task that served to disrupt the WM activation of the previously processed word. Subsequently, WM-driven capture was assessed by having participants per- form a single-target rapid serial visual presentation task in which a line drawing corresponding to the word was presented shortly before a target. The results showed that the line draw- ing captured attention irrespective of the presence of the arith- metic task when the word had to be remembered. In compar- ison, the animacy judgment alone resulted in capture only when the arithmetic task was absent, and this effect was equal- ly strong as the capture effect caused by a to-be-remembered word. Taken together, these findings show that although re- sidual and goal-driven WM activation may be equally potent in guiding attentional selection, these two forms of WM acti- vation differ in that residual activation is overwritten by an attention-demanding task, whereas goal-driven WM activa- tion can lead to the reinstatement of a stimulus after performing such a task.
- AUTOMATIC GUIDANCE