Turning Attention Inside Out: How Working Memory Serves Behavior

Annual Review of Psychology, Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 16 May 2022

See all articles by Freek van Ede

Freek van Ede

VU University Amsterdam

Anna C Nobre

University of Oxford

Date Written: April 13, 2022

Abstract

Flexible behaviour requires guidance not only by sensations that are available immediately but also by relevant mental contents carried forward through working memory. Therefore, selective-attention functions that modulate the contents of working memory to guide behaviour (“inside-out”) are just as important as those operating on sensory signals to generate internal contents (“outside-in”). We review the burgeoning literature on selective attention in the inside-out direction and underscore its functional, flexible, and future-focused nature. We discuss in turn the purpose (why), targets (what), sources (when), and mechanisms (how) of selective attention inside working memory, using visual working memory as a model. We show how the study of internal selective attention brings new insights concerning the core cognitive processes of attention and working memory and how considering selective attention and working memory together paves the way for a rich and integrated understanding of how mind serves behaviour.

Keywords: Working Memory, Selective Attention, Anticipation, Expectation, Vision, Action

Suggested Citation

van Ede, Freek and Nobre, Anna C, Turning Attention Inside Out: How Working Memory Serves Behavior (April 13, 2022). Annual Review of Psychology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4082572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4082572

Freek Van Ede (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Anna C Nobre

University of Oxford ( email )

Anna Watts Building
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6GG
United Kingdom

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