Independent operation of implicit working memory under cognitive load

Eunhee Ji, Kyung Min Lee, Min Shik Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Implicit working memory (WM) has been known to operate non-consciously and unintentionally. The current study investigated whether implicit WM is a discrete mechanism from explicit WM in terms of cognitive resource. To induce cognitive resource competition, we used a conjunction search task (Experiment 1) and imposed spatial WM load (Experiment 2a and 2b). Each trial was composed of a set of five consecutive search displays. The location of the first four displays appeared as per pre-determined patterns, but the fifth display could follow the same pattern or not. If implicit WM can extract the moving pattern of stimuli, response times for the fifth target would be faster when it followed the pattern compared to when it did not. Our results showed implicit WM can operate when participants are searching for the conjunction target and even while maintaining spatial WM information. These results suggest that implicit WM is independent from explicit spatial WM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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