Exogenous and endogenous spatial attention effects on visuospatial working memory

Fabiano Botta, Valerio Santangelo, Antonino Raffone, Juan Lupiáñez, Marta Olivetti Belardinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we investigate how exogenous and endogenous orienting of spatial attention affect visuospatial working memory (VSWM). Specifically, we focused on two attentional effects and their consequences on storage in VSWM, when exogenous (Experiment 1) or endogenous (Experiment 2) orienting cues were used. The first effect, known as the meridian effect, is given by a decrement in behavioural performance when spatial cues and targets are presented in locations separated by vertical and/or horizontal meridians. The second effect, known as the distance effect, is given by a decrement in the orienting effects as a function of the spatial distance between cues and targets. Our results revealed a dissociation between exogenous and endogenous orienting mechanisms in terms of both meridian and distance effects. We found that meridian crossing affects performance only when endogenous cues were used. Specifically, VSWM performance with endogenous cueing depended more on the number of meridian crossings than on distance between cue and target. By contrast, a U-shaped distance dependency was observed using exogenous cues. Our findings therefore suggest that exogenous and endogenous orienting mechanisms lead to different forms of attentional bias for storage in VSWM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1590-1602
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Distance effect
  • Endogenous orienting
  • Exogenous orienting
  • Meridian effect
  • Spatial attention
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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