UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


UCARE Research Products

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UCARE Poster session, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Fair, April 2016, Lincoln, NE.


Copyright © 2016 Erica Ness, Emily Franzen, James Thomas, Haily Sain, Lalah McLaughlin, Lindsey Spohr, Greg DeGirolamo & Anne R. Schutte


The study examined the effects of executive attention on spatial working memory in adults using a location recall task. Attention is suggested to play a crucial role in maintenance of a remembered location in spatial working memory. Awh and Jonides (2001) found that reaction times to a presented stimulus were faster when the stimulus was held in spatial working memory. A subsequent study found that when holding a location in spatial working memory, tasks which shift attention cause memory performance to be worse for the remembered location. An ERP study by Awh and Jonides (2001) found similar response amplitudes between visual responses for memorized locations and directed spatial attention. These results are significant because they suggest that spatial attention is used as a rehearsal mechanism for holding locations in spatial working memory. Another study found that when a location is held in spatial working memory, an onset of an external stimulus, i.e., a distractor, caused a shift in the memory representation in the direction of the location (Stigchel, Merten, Meeter, & Theeuwes, 2007). In contrast Schutte, Keiser, and Beatte (2015) found that in a similar task 6-year-olds’ memory representation of the target location shifted away from the distractor.