Janczyk M, Berryhill ME (2014). Orienting attention in visual working memory requires central capacity: Decreased retrocue effects under dualtask conditions. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 76, 715-724.
[ DOI 10.3758/s134140130615x. PMCID: PMC4080723. ]
The retro-cue effect (RCE) describes superior working memory performance for validly cued stimulus locations long after encoding has ended. Importantly, this happens with delays beyond the range of iconic memory. In general, the RCE is a stable phenomenon that emerges under varied stimulus configurations and timing parameters. We investigated its susceptibility to dual-task interference to determine the attentional requirements at the time point of cue onset and encoding. In Experiment 1, we compared single- with dualtask conditions. In Experiment 2, we borrowed from the psychological refractory period paradigm and compared conditions with high and low (dual-) task overlap. The secondary task was always binary tone discrimination requiring a manual response. Across both experiments, an RCE was found, but it was diminished in magnitude in the critical dual-task conditions. A previous study did not find evidence that sustained attention is required in the interval between cue offset and test. Our results apparently contradict these findings and point to a critical time period around cue onset and briefly thereafter during which attention is required.