Term of Award
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Department of Psychology
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Previous working memory literature has considered the occurrence of an increase in reaction time following an object-switch as evidence supporting a single-item focus of attention. Much literature has also identified interference from other information as the principle cause of forgetting. These hypotheses are here challenged by (1) postulating reaction time differences are indicative of a multiple-item focus of attention that preferentially orders items based upon task-relevance, rather than a single preferred item and (2) presenting evidence of a decay process concurrently causing forgetting alongside interference. In Experiment 1 participants completed a task in which multiple repetitions of a single item resulted in inconsistent reaction times indicating this item was afforded more resources within a pool of multiple items as it became more task-relevant rather than the object switch cost indicating a single item focus of attention. Experiment 2 measured both interference and decay in a task with differential cognitive load and trial time, respectively. Each of these conditions resulted in forgetting from memory independent of one another. This is interpreted such that decay results in forgetting even in the presence of varying degrees of interference and is not affected by said interference.
Blume, Christopher L., "Functional Processing Aspects of Working Memory: Capacity Limitations and Mechanisms of Forgetting" (2013). Electronic Theses & Dissertations. 29.