An action to an object does not improve its episodic encoding but removes distraction.
Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
There is some debate as to whether responding to objects in our environment improves episodic memory or does not impact it. Some authors claim that actively encoding objects improves their representation in episodic memory. Conversely, episodic memory has also been shown to improve in passive conditions, suggesting that the action itself could interfere with the encoding process. This study looks at the impact of attention and action on episodic memory using a novel what-where-when (WWW) task that includes information about object identity (what) and spatial (where) and temporal (when) properties. With this approach, we studied the episodic memory of 2 types of objects: a target, where attention or an action is defined, and a distractor, an object to be ignored, following 2 selective states: active versus passive selection. When targets were actively selected, we found no evidence of episodic memory enhancement compared to passive selection; instead, memory from irrelevant sources was suppressed. The pattern was replicated across a 2-D static display and a more realistic 3-D virtual environment. This selective attention effect on episodic memory was not observed on nonepisodic measures, demonstrating a link between attention and the encoding of episodic experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record
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