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01-05-2014 | Review | Uitgave 3/2014

Psychological Research 3/2014

Attention to memory: orienting attention to sound object representations

Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2014
Kristina C. Backer, Claude Alain


Despite a growing acceptance that attention and memory interact, and that attention can be focused on an active internal mental representation (i.e., reflective attention), there has been a paucity of work focusing on reflective attention to ‘sound objects’ (i.e., mental representations of actual sound sources in the environment). Further research on the dynamic interactions between auditory attention and memory, as well as its degree of neuroplasticity, is important for understanding how sound objects are represented, maintained, and accessed in the brain. This knowledge can then guide the development of training programs to help individuals with attention and memory problems. This review article focuses on attention to memory with an emphasis on behavioral and neuroimaging studies that have begun to explore the mechanisms that mediate reflective attentional orienting in vision and more recently, in audition. Reflective attention refers to situations in which attention is oriented toward internal representations rather than focused on external stimuli. We propose four general principles underlying attention to short-term memory. Furthermore, we suggest that mechanisms involved in orienting attention to visual object representations may also apply for orienting attention to sound object representations.

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