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Recent research has shown interactions between the process of keeping information 'online' in working memory, and the processes that select relevant information for a response. In particular, our ability to select stimuli in the environment can be modulated by whether the stimuli match the current contents of working memory. Guidance of selection from working memory occurs automatically, even when it is detrimental to performance. Neurophysiological data, from functional brain imaging, indicate that the interaction between working memory and attention is based on neuronal mechanisms distinct from the processes mediating 'bottom-up' priming effects from implicit memory. We discuss the importance of 'top-down' influences from working memory on the 'early' deployment of attention and on the processes that gate visual information into awareness.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Cogn Sci

Publication Date





342 - 348


Attention, Awareness, Brain, Cues, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Memory, Prefrontal Cortex, Vision, Ocular, Visual Perception