Can your memory bias attention?
Yes, especially if you are multitasking. Information must be maintained until it can be applied. Working Memory actively stores and manipulates information over short periods of time. So we need to hold information in WM to function; however, keeping information in working memory is costly (energy and cognitive process). Maintaining information in WM can also bias our attention towards items related to that information (in a sense, this is a deep form of availability bias). Our ability to pay attention uses working memory to determine where we should focus.
Information maintained in working memory (WM) has the potential to bias selective attention and limit executive attention. The current study assessed the influence of information in WM on the tasks one chooses to perform in a multitasking environment. Participants held either identities or locations in WM while performing voluntary task-switching trials on stimuli that did or did not match the information they were attempting to maintain. A bias toward performing the task associated with stimuli that had recently been encoded into WM was found. The results suggest that information in WM can influence choice within a multitasking environment.
At least one company is very conscious of how much is in your working memory and decision process. David Rock, author of the amazing Your Brain At Work, explains that Google tries to limit the number of things employees have to hold in working memory and reduce decisions.
Source: What’s on your mind: The influence of the contents of working memory on choice (link)