Tobias Feldmann-Wüstefeld, University of Chicago
Abstract: In everyday life, humans are confronted with a large amount of visual information. One of our visual system's most challenging tasks is the optimization of the limited processing capacity to select and maintain relevant information. Visual attention describes the phenomenon that our visual system can quickly select information in the visual environment. Visual working memory describes the phenomenon that our visual system can temporarily maintain information that is no longer available to the senses but that is considered relevant for ongoing tasks.
Past research has focused on how prioritization of relevant information enhances visual attention and working memory, but often has neglected the role of suppression of irrelevant information. Using a novel technique that allows us to disentangle neural markers of prioritization and suppression in the event-related potentials of the EEG, we show that visual attention and working memory rely on efficient filtering mechanisms that require active suppression.