Interference in visual working memory.

John Gerard Quinn, J McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses the theoretical distinction that has recently developed between the passive visual store and the active spatial rehearsal mechanism of the visuo-spatial component of working memory (VSSP). It examines the circumstances under which visual fields gain functional access to the passive visual store and seeks to cast light on the circumstances under which irrelevant visual fields interfere with concurrent visual processing. Experiment 1 contrasts a dynamic visual noise field with a static noise field and shows that the static field, in contrast to the dynamic noise field, causes no interference when presented concurrently with a visual task. Experiment 2 investigates the reason for this contrast and concludes that the static field is susceptible to decay and so fails to cause interference. Experiment 3 investigates further the circumstances under which dynamic visual noise causes interference and shows that manipulation of the number of changes within the noise field is also of importance in causing interference. The results allow further consideration of the characteristics of the VSSP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-67
Number of pages15
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section A Human Experimental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000




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