Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 71, Issue 8, pp 1831–1841

Dual-task interference in visual working memory: A limitation in storage capacity but not in encoding or retrieval

Research Articles

DOI: 10.3758/APP.71.8.1831

Cite this article as:
Fougnie, D. & Marois, R. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics (2009) 71: 1831. doi:10.3758/APP.71.8.1831


The concurrent maintenance of two visual working memory (VWM) arrays can lead to profound interference. It is unclear, however, whether these costs arise from limitations in VWM storage capacity (Fougnie & Maro is, 2006) or from interference between the storage of one visual array and encoding or retrieval of another visual array (Cowan & Morey, 2007). Here, we show that encoding a VWM array does not interfere with maintenance of another VWM array unless the two displays exceed maintenance capacity (Experiments 1 and 2). Moreover, manipulating the extent to which encoding and maintenance can interfere with one another had no discernable effect on dual-task performance (Experiment 2). Finally, maintenance of a VWM array was not affected by retrieval of information from another VWM array (Experiment 3). Taken together, these findings demonstrate that dual-task interference between two concurrent VWM tasks is due to a capacity-limited store that is independent from encoding and retrieval processes.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashville