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Description: Does the strength of representations in long-term memory (LTM) depend on which type of attention is engaged? We tested participants’ memory for objects seen during visual search. We compared implicit memory for two types of distractors— related-context distractors that grabbed attention because they matched the target defining feature (i.e. color; top-down attention) and salient distractors that captured attention only because they were perceptually distracting (bottom-up attention). In Experiment 1, the salient distractor flickered, while in Experiment 2, the luminance of the salient distractor was alternated. Critically, salient and related-context distractors produced equivalent attentional capture, yet related-context distractors were remembered far better than salient distractors (and salient distractors were not remembered better than unrelated distractors). These results suggest that LTM depends not only on the amount of attention but also on the type of attention. Specifically, top-down attention is more effective in promoting the formation of memory traces than bottom-up attention.


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