Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1128–1134 | Cite as

Hold it! Memory affects attentional dwell time

  • Emily L. Parks
  • Joseph B. HopfingerEmail author
Brief Reports


The allocation of attention, including the initial orienting and the subsequent dwell time, is affected by several bottom-up and top-down factors. How item memory affects these processes, however, remains unclear. Here, we investigated whether item memory affects attentional dwell time by using a modified version of the attentional blink (AB) paradigm. Across four experiments, our results revealed that the AB was significantly affected by memory status (novel vs. old), but critically, this effect depended on the ongoing memory context. Specifically, items that were unique in terms of memory status demanded more resources, as measured by a protracted AB. The present findings suggest that a more comprehensive understanding of memory’s effects on attention can be obtained by accounting for an item’s memorial context, as well as its individual item memory strength. Our results provide new evidence that item memory and memory context play a significant role in the temporal allocation of attention.


Stimulus Onset Asynchrony Attentional Blink Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Memory Status Item Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, CB 3270University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill

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