"The structure of attention and working memory"
Attention and working memory are fundamental functions of higher-level cognition, allowing us to prioritize and maintain relevant information and ignore the irrelevant.
In this talk, I will present our recent work on feature-based attention showing that attention doesn’t only act to enhance relevant features but can also distort feature representations by shifting the attentional focus away from the target, effectively increasing the signal-to-noise ratio between relevant and irrelevant features. Then, I will demonstrate that ignoring visual features is particularly effective during experience-based, relative to intentional and volitional attention. In the second part of my talk, I will show that visual working memory – often described as having a fixed capacity limit – has higher capacity when remembering meaningful stimuli relative to simple and abstract shapes. Throughout the talk, I’ll argue that understanding how attention and memory interact with perceptual representations provides important insights into their fundamental properties: their limits, their computations, their structures.