Tomita, Nozomi; Imai, Shoji; Kanayama, Yusuke; Kawashima, Issaku; Kumano, Hiroaki
While dichotic listening (DL) was originally intended to measure bottom-up selective attention, it has also become a tool for measuring top-down selective attention. This study investigated the brain regions related to top-down selective and divided attention DL tasks and a 2-back task using alphanumeric and Japanese numeric sounds. Thirty-six healthy participants underwent near-infrared spectroscopy scanning while performing a top-down selective attentional DL task, a top-down divided attentional DL task, and a 2-back task. Pearson's correlations were calculated to show relationships between oxy-Hb concentration in each brain region and the score of each cognitive task. Different brain regions were activated during the DL and 2-back tasks. Brain regions activated in the top-down selective attention DL task were the left inferior prefrontal gyrus and left pars opercularis. The left temporopolar area was activated in the top-down divided attention DL task, and the left frontopolar area and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were activated in the 2-back task. As further evidence for the finding that each task measured different cognitive and brain area functions, neither the percentages of correct answers for the three tasks nor the response times for the selective attentional task and the divided attentional task were correlated to one another. Thus, the DL and 2-back tasks used in this study can assess multiple areas of cognitive, brain-related dysfunction to explore their relationship to different psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.
YuLeung To, Eric; Abbott, Kathy; Foster, Dale S; Helmer, D'Arcy
Impairments in working memory are typically associated with impairments in other cognitive faculties such as attentional processes and short-term memory. This paper briefly introduces neurofeedback as a treatment modality in general, and, more specifically, we review several of the current modalities successfully used in neurofeedback (NF) for the treatment of working memory deficits. Two case studies are presented to illustrate how neurofeedback is applied in treatment. The development of Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA) and its application in neurofeedback now makes it possible to specifically target deep cortical/subcortical brain structures. Developments in neuroscience concerning neural networks, combined with highly specific yet practical NF technologies, makes neurofeedback of particular interest to neuropsychological practice, including the emergence of specific methodologies for treating very difficult working memory (WM) problems.
Miller, Earl K
This review examines the evidence for a neurobiological explanation of executive functions of working memory. We suggest that executive control stems from information about task rules acquired by mixed selective, adaptive coding, multifunctional neurons in the prefrontal cortex. The output of these neurons dynamically links the cortex-wide networks needed to complete the task. The linking may occur via synchronizing of neural rhythms, which may explain why we have a limited capacity for simultaneous thought.
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Copeland, David E.
Working memory capacity has been suggested as a factor that is involved in long-term memory retrieval, particularly when that retrieval involves a need to overcome some sort of interference (Bunting, Conway, & Heitz, 2004; Cantor & Engle, 1993). Previous work has suggested that working memory is related to the acquisition of information during…
Eriksson, Johan; Vogel, Edward K.; Lansner, Anders; Bergström, Fredrik; Nyberg, Lars
The crucial role of working memory for temporary information processing and guidance of complex behavior has been recognized for many decades. There is emerging consensus that working memory maintenance results from the interactions among long-term memory representations and basic processes, including attention, that are instantiated as reentrant loops between frontal and posterior cortical areas, as well as subcortical structures. The nature of such interactions can account for capacity limitations, lifespan changes, and restricted transfer after working-memory training. Recent data and models indicate that working memory may also be based on synaptic plasticity, and that working memory can operate on non-consciously perceived information. PMID:26447571
Hassin, Ran R.; Bargh, John A.; Engell, Andrew D.; McCulloch, Kathleen C.
Working Memory (WM) plays a crucial role in many high-level cognitive processes (e.g., reasoning, decision making, goal pursuit and cognitive control). The prevalent view holds that active components of WM are predominantly intentional and conscious. This conception is oftentimes expressed explicitly, but it is best reflected in the nature of major WM tasks: All of them are blatantly explicit. We developed two new WM paradigms that allow for an examination of the role of conscious awareness in WM. Results from five studies show that WM can operate unintentionally and outside of conscious awareness, thus suggesting that the current view should be expanded to include implicit WM. PMID:19442537
Xiu, Lichao; Zhou, Renlai; Jiang, Yihan
Emotion regulation during social situations plays a pivotal role in health and interpersonal functioning. In this study, we propose a working memory training approach to improve emotion regulation ability. This training promotes an updating function that is a crucial modulated process for emotion regulation. In the present study, the participants in the training group completed a running memory task over 20 days of training. Their working memory capability and high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV) data on pretest and posttest were assessed and analyzed. Compared with the control group, the training group's reaction time in the 2-back working memory task was reduced significantly. In addition, the HF-HRV in the emotion regulation condition was increased after the 20-day training, which indicates that the working memory training effect could transfer to emotion regulation. In other words, working memory training improved emotion regulation ability.
Schicktanz, Nathalie; Schwegler, Kyrill; Fastenrath, Matthias; Spalek, Klara; Milnik, Annette; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; Nyffeler, Thomas; de Quervain, Dominique J-F
Cognitive functions, such as working memory, depend on neuronal excitability in a distributed network of cortical regions. It is not known, however, if interindividual differences in cortical excitability are related to differences in working memory performance. In the present transcranial magnetic stimulation study, which included 188 healthy young subjects, we show that participants with lower resting motor threshold, which is related to higher corticospinal excitability, had increased 2-back working memory performance. The findings may help to better understand the link between cortical excitability and cognitive functions and may also have important clinical implications with regard to conditions of altered cortical excitability.
Working memory (WM) is fundamental to many aspects of human life, including learning, speech and text comprehension, prospection and future planning, and explicit “system 2” forms of reasoning, as well as overlapping heavily with fluid general intelligence. WM has been intensively studied for many decades, and there is a growing consensus about its nature, its components, and its signature limits. Remarkably, given its central importance in human life, there has been very little comparative investigation of WM abilities across species. Consequently, much remains unknown about the evolution of this important human capacity. Some questions can be tentatively answered from the existing comparative literature. Even studies that were not intended to do so can nonetheless shed light on the WM capacities of nonhuman animals. However, many questions remain. PMID:23754428
Gonzales, Mitzi M.; Tarumi, Takashi; Tanaka, Hirofumi; Sugawara, Jun; Swann-Sternberg, Tali; Goudarzi, Katayoon; Haley, Andreana P.
The current study examined the relationship between a prognostic indicator of vascular health, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and working memory-related brain activation in healthy middle-aged adults. Forty-two participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a 2-Back working memory task. Brachial artery…
Smith, Andrew P
Research has shown that extraverts performing a working memory task benefit more from caffeine than do introverts. The present study aimed to replicate this and extend our knowledge by using a lower dose of caffeine (65 mg) and a range of tasks related to different components of working memory. In addition, tasks assessing psychomotor speed and the encoding of new information were included to determine whether caffeine-extraversion interactions were restricted to working memory tasks. A double-blind design was used, with 128 participants being randomly assigned to caffeinated or de-caffeinated coffee conditions. The results showed that caffeine interacted with extraversion in the predicted direction for serial recall and running memory tasks. Caffeine improved simple reaction time and the speed of encoding of new information, effects which were not modified by extraversion. These results suggest possible biological mechanisms underlying effects of caffeine on cognitive performance.
Rudner, Mary; Karlsson, Thomas; Gunnarsson, Johan; Rönnberg, Jerker
Neural networks underpinning working memory demonstrate sign language specific components possibly related to differences in temporary storage mechanisms. A processing approach to memory systems suggests that the organisation of memory storage is related to type of memory processing as well. In the present study, we investigated for the first time semantic, phonological and orthographic processing in working memory for sign- and speech-based language. During fMRI we administered a picture-based 2-back working memory task with Semantic, Phonological, Orthographic and Baseline conditions to 11 deaf signers and 20 hearing non-signers. Behavioural data showed poorer and slower performance for both groups in Phonological and Orthographic conditions than in the Semantic condition, in line with depth-of-processing theory. An exclusive masking procedure revealed distinct sign-specific neural networks supporting working memory components at all three levels of processing. The overall pattern of sign-specific activations may reflect a relative intermodality difference in the relationship between phonology and semantics influencing working memory storage and processing.
Rhodes, Rebecca E; Katz, Benjamin
The present research explores how the trajectory of learning on a working memory task changes throughout the life span, and whether gains in working memory performance are exclusively a question of initial working memory capacity (WMC) or whether age exerts an independent effect. In a large, cross-sectional study of younger, middle-aged, and older adults, we examined learning on a widely used working memory task-the dual n-back task-over 20 sessions of practice. We found that, while all age groups improved on the task, older adults demonstrated less improvement on the task, and also reached a lower asymptotic maximum performance than younger adults. After controlling for initial WMC, we found that age exerted independent effects on training gains and asymptotic performance; older adults tended to improve less and reached lower levels of performance than younger adults. The difference between younger and older adults' rates of learning depended in part on initial WMC. These results suggest that age-related effects on working memory include not only effects on capacity, but also plasticity and the ability to improve on a task. (PsycINFO Database Record
Shelton, Jill Talley; Elliott, Emily M.; Matthews, Russell A.; Hill, B. D.; Gouvier, Wm. Drew
Recent efforts have been made to elucidate the commonly observed link between working memory and reasoning ability. The results have been inconsistent, with some work suggesting that the emphasis placed on retrieval from secondary memory by working memory tests is the driving force behind this association (Mogle, Lovett, Stawski, & Sliwinski,…
Background: Working memory is linked to learning outcomes and there is emerging evidence that training working memory can yield gains in working memory and fluid intelligence. Aims: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether interactive working memory training would transfer to acquired cognitive skills, such as vocabulary and…
Banales, Erin; Kohnen, Saskia; McArthur, Genevieve
The aim of the current study was to determine whether poor verbal working memory is associated with poor word reading accuracy because the former causes the latter, or the latter causes the former. To this end, we tested whether (a) verbal working memory training improves poor verbal working memory or poor word reading accuracy, and whether (b) reading training improves poor reading accuracy or verbal working memory in a case series of four children with poor word reading accuracy and verbal working memory. Each child completed 8 weeks of verbal working memory training and 8 weeks of reading training. Verbal working memory training improved verbal working memory in two of the four children, but did not improve their reading accuracy. Similarly, reading training improved word reading accuracy in all children, but did not improve their verbal working memory. These results suggest that the causal links between verbal working memory and reading accuracy may not be as direct as has been assumed.
Shipstead, Zach; Redick, Thomas S.; Engle, Randall W.
Working memory (WM) is a cognitive system that strongly relates to a person's ability to reason with novel information and direct attention to goal-relevant information. Due to the central role that WM plays in general cognition, it has become the focus of a rapidly growing training literature that seeks to affect broad cognitive change through…
Stone, M.; Gabrieli, J. D.; Stebbins, G. T.; Sullivan, E. V.
Working memory and its contribution to performance on strategic memory tests in schizophrenia were studied. Patients (n = 18) and control participants (n = 15), all men, received tests of immediate memory (forward digit span), working memory (listening, computation, and backward digit span), and long-term strategic (free recall, temporal order, and self-ordered pointing) and nonstrategic (recognition) memory. Schizophrenia patients performed worse on all tests. Education, verbal intelligence, and immediate memory capacity did not account for deficits in working memory in schizophrenia patients. Reduced working memory capacity accounted for group differences in strategic memory but not in recognition memory. Working memory impairment may be central to the profile of impaired cognitive performance in schizophrenia and is consistent with hypothesized frontal lobe dysfunction associated with this disease. Additional medial-temporal dysfunction may account for the recognition memory deficit.
Alain, Claude; Shen, Dawei; Yu, He; Grady, Cheryl
Attending and responding to sound location generates increased activity in parietal cortex which may index auditory spatial working memory and/or goal-directed action. Here, we used an n-back task (Experiment 1) and an adaptation paradigm (Experiment 2) to distinguish memory-related activity from that associated with goal-directed action. In Experiment 1, participants indicated, in separate blocks of trials, whether the incoming stimulus was presented at the same location as in the previous trial (1-back) or two trials ago (2-back). Prior to a block of trials, participants were told to use their left or right index finger. Accuracy and reaction times were worse for the 2-back than for the 1-back condition. The analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data revealed greater sustained task-related activity in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and superior frontal sulcus during 2-back than 1-back after accounting for response-related activity elicited by the targets. Target detection and response execution were also associated with enhanced activity in the IPL bilaterally, though the activation was anterior to that associated with sustained task-related activity. In Experiment 2, we used an event-related design in which participants listened (no response required) to trials that comprised four sounds presented either at the same location or at four different locations. We found larger IPL activation for changes in sound location than for sounds presented at the same location. The IPL activation overlapped with that observed during the auditory spatial working memory task. Together, these results provide converging evidence supporting the role of parietal cortex in auditory spatial working memory which can be dissociated from response selection and execution. PMID:21833258
Hammer, Anke; Vielhaber, Stefan; Rodriguez-Fornells, Antoni; Mohammadi, Bahram; Münte, Thomas F
Frontal lobe functions, in particular working memory (WM) and verbal fluency, have been found to be deficient in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To study the neural correlates of WM-impairment, ALS patients and healthy age-matched controls were subjected to two working memory tasks following the 2-back paradigm, one requiring the storage of figural information, the other storage of spatial information. A significant proportion of ALS patients were unable to perform the WM-tasks. Those who could showed worse performance in the spatial task than the controls. Event-related brain potentials recorded during the task revealed a topographical change of the working memory effect in the ALS patients. Thus, behavioral and electrophysiological data suggest an alteration of working memory, in particular for spatial information, in ALS. Additionally, the patients also took part in two Go/Nogo tasks (spatial, figural) using the same stimulus material but defining targets prior to the experiment instead of a working memory manipulation. Here, an anteriorization of the nogo-P3 was found which has been established as an index of impaired inhibitory functions.
West, Robert; Bowry, Ritvij
The current study used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine the effects of aging, increasing the working memory demands of the ongoing activity, and a prospective memory load on the neural correlates of prospective remembering and target recognition. The behavioral data revealed that the success of prospective memory was sensitive to working memory load in younger, but not older, adults and that a prospective memory load had a greater effect on the performance of older adults than that of younger adults. The ERP data revealed age-related differences in the neural correlates of the detection of prospective cues, post-retrieval processes that support prospective memory, and target recognition. Our results support the hypothesis that there are age-related differences in the ability to recruit preparatory attentional processes that underlie prospective memory, and demonstrate that younger and older adults may recruit somewhat different neural generators to support prospective memory and working memory.
Steele, Shelly D.; Minshew, Nancy J.; Luna, Beatriz; Sweeney, John A.
Previous studies have reported working memory deficits in autism, but this finding has been inconsistent. One possibility is that deficits in this domain may be present only when working memory load exceeds some limited capacity. High-functioning individuals with autism performed the CANTAB computerized test of spatial working memory. Individuals…
Szmalec, Arnaud; Verbruggen, Frederick; Vandierendonck, Andre; Kemps, Eva
The current study examined the nature of the processes underlying working memory updating. In 4 experiments using the n-back paradigm, the authors demonstrate that continuous updating of items in working memory prevents strong binding of those items to their contexts in working memory, and hence leads to an increased susceptibility to proactive…
Schicktanz, Nathalie; Fastenrath, Matthias; Milnik, Annette; Spalek, Klara; Auschra, Bianca; Nyffeler, Thomas; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J-F; Schwegler, Kyrill
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a key role in working memory. Evidence indicates that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the DLPFC can interfere with working memory performance. Here we investigated for how long continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over the DLPFC decreases working memory performance and whether the effect of cTBS on performance depends on working memory load. Forty healthy young subjects received either cTBS over the left DLPFC or sham stimulation before performing a 2-, and 3-back working memory letter task. An additional 0-back condition served as a non-memory-related control, measuring general attention. cTBS over the left DLPFC significantly impaired 2-back working memory performance for about 15 min, whereas 3-back and 0-back performances were not significantly affected. Our results indicate that the effect of left DLPFC cTBS on working memory performance lasts for roughly 15 min and depends on working memory load.
Quak, Michel; London, Raquel Elea; Talsma, Durk
Although our sensory experience is mostly multisensory in nature, research on working memory representations has focused mainly on examining the senses in isolation. Results from the multisensory processing literature make it clear that the senses interact on a more intimate manner than previously assumed. These interactions raise questions regarding the manner in which multisensory information is maintained in working memory. We discuss the current status of research on multisensory processing and the implications of these findings on our theoretical understanding of working memory. To do so, we focus on reviewing working memory research conducted from a multisensory perspective, and discuss the relation between working memory, attention, and multisensory processing in the context of the predictive coding framework. We argue that a multisensory approach to the study of working memory is indispensable to achieve a realistic understanding of how working memory processes maintain and manipulate information. PMID:25954176
St Clair-Thompson, Helen; Stevens, Ruth; Hunt, Alexandra; Bolder, Emma
Previous research has demonstrated close relationships between working memory and children's scholastic attainment. The aim of the present study was to explore a method of improving working memory, using memory strategy training. Two hundred and fifty-four children aged five to eight years were tested on measures of the phonological loop,…
Wright, Heather Harris; Downey, Ryan A; Gravier, Michelle; Love, Tracy; Shapiro, Lewis P
BACKGROUND: Recent investigations have suggested that adults with aphasia present with a working memory deficit that may contribute to their language-processing difficulties. Working memory capacity has been conceptualised as a single "resource" pool for attentional, linguistic, and other executive processing-alternatively, it has been suggested that there may be separate working memory abilities for different types of linguistic information. A challenge in this line of research is developing an appropriate measure of working memory ability in adults with aphasia. One candidate measure of working memory ability that may be appropriate for this population is the n-back task. By manipulating stimulus type, the n-back task may be appropriate for tapping linguistic-specific working memory abilities. AIMS: The purposes of this study were (a) to measure working memory ability in adults with aphasia for processing specific types of linguistic information, and (b) to examine whether a relationship exists between participants' performance on working memory and auditory comprehension measures. METHOD #ENTITYSTARTX00026; PROCEDURES: Nine adults with aphasia participated in the study. Participants completed three n-back tasks, each tapping different types of linguistic information. They included the PhonoBack (phonological level), SemBack (semantic level), and SynBack (syntactic level). For all tasks, two n-back levels were administered: a 1-back and 2-back. Each level contained 20 target items; accuracy was recorded by stimulus presentation software. The Subject-relative, Object-relative, Active, Passive Test of Syntactic Complexity (SOAP) was the syntactic sentence comprehension task administered to all participants. OUTCOMES #ENTITYSTARTX00026; RESULTS: Participants' performance declined as n-back task difficulty increased. Overall, participants performed better on the SemBack than PhonoBack and SynBack tasks, but the differences were not statistically significant. Finally
Redick, Thomas S; Shipstead, Zach; Wiemers, Elizabeth A; Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Hulme, Charles
Working memory training programs have generated great interest, with claims that the training interventions can have profound beneficial effects on children's academic and intellectual attainment. We describe the criteria by which to evaluate evidence for or against the benefit of working memory training. Despite the promising results of initial research studies, the current review of all of the available evidence of working memory training efficacy is less optimistic. Our conclusion is that working memory training produces limited benefits in terms of specific gains on short-term and working memory tasks that are very similar to the training programs, but no advantage for academic and achievement-based reading and arithmetic outcomes.
Wilsch, Anna; Obleser, Jonas
Working memory is a limited resource: brains can only maintain small amounts of sensory input (memory load) over a brief period of time (memory decay). The dynamics of slow neural oscillations as recorded using magneto- and electroencephalography (M/EEG) provide a window into the neural mechanics of these limitations. Especially oscillations in the alpha range (8-13Hz) are a sensitive marker for memory load. Moreover, according to current models, the resultant working memory load is determined by the relative noise in the neural representation of maintained information. The auditory domain allows memory researchers to apply and test the concept of noise quite literally: Employing degraded stimulus acoustics increases memory load and, at the same time, allows assessing the cognitive resources required to process speech in noise in an ecologically valid and clinically relevant way. The present review first summarizes recent findings on neural oscillations, especially alpha power, and how they reflect memory load and memory decay in auditory working memory. The focus is specifically on memory load resulting from acoustic degradation. These findings are then contrasted with contextual factors that benefit neural as well as behavioral markers of memory performance, by reducing representational noise. We end on discussing the functional role of alpha power in auditory working memory and suggest extensions of the current methodological toolkit. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Auditory working memory.
Waris, Otto; Soveri, Anna; Laine, Matti
During the past decade, working memory training has attracted much interest. However, the training outcomes have varied between studies and methodological problems have hampered the interpretation of results. The current study examined transfer after working memory updating training by employing an extensive battery of pre-post cognitive measures with a focus on near transfer. Thirty-one healthy Finnish young adults were randomized into either a working memory training group or an active control group. The working memory training group practiced with three working memory tasks, while the control group trained with three commercial computer games with a low working memory load. The participants trained thrice a week for five weeks, with one training session lasting about 45 minutes. Compared to the control group, the working memory training group showed strongest transfer to an n-back task, followed by working memory updating, which in turn was followed by active working memory capacity. Our results support the view that working memory training produces near transfer effects, and that the degree of transfer depends on the cognitive overlap between the training and transfer measures.
Urbain, C M; Pang, E W; Taylor, M J
Working memory (WM) impairments may contribute to the profound behavioural manifestations in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, previous behavioural results are discrepant as are the few functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) results collected in adults and adolescents with ASD. Here we investigate the precise temporal dynamics of WM-related brain activity using magnetoencephalography (MEG) in 20 children with ASD and matched controls during an n-back WM task across different load levels (1-back vs 2-back). Although behavioural results were similar between ASD and typically developing (TD) children, the between-group comparison performed on functional brain activity showed atypical WM-related brain processes in children with ASD compared with TD children. These atypical responses were observed in the ASD group from 200 to 600 ms post stimulus in both the low- (1-back) and high- (2-back) memory load conditions. During the 1-back condition, children with ASD showed reduced WM-related activations in the right hippocampus and the cingulate gyrus compared with TD children who showed more activation in the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and the insulae. In the 2-back condition, children with ASD showed less activity in the left insula and midcingulate gyrus and more activity in the left precuneus than TD children. In addition, reduced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex was correlated with symptom severity in children with ASD. Thus, this MEG study identified the precise timing and sources of atypical WM-related activity in frontal, temporal and parietal regions in children with ASD. The potential impacts of such atypicalities on social deficits of autism are discussed. PMID:26261885
Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Willis, Catherine; Adams, Anne-Marie
This study investigated associations between working memory (measured by complex memory tasks) and both reading and mathematics abilities, as well as the possible mediating factors of fluid intelligence, verbal abilities, short-term memory (STM), and phonological awareness, in a sample of 46 6- to 11-year-olds with reading disabilities. As a…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Rajendran, Gnanathusharan; Archibald, Lisa M. D.
The aim of the present study was to directly compare working memory skills across students with different developmental disorders to investigate whether the uniqueness of their diagnosis would impact memory skills. The authors report findings confirming differential memory profiles on the basis of the following developmental disorders: Specific…
a % - AV ~ ~ 2 a . a’* - Working memory capacity -54- Experiment 5 Some researchers (e.g, Klapp , et al. (1983) and Brainerd and Kingma (1984, 1985...Psychological Review. 85,363-394. Klapp , S. T., Marshbum, E. A & Lester, P. T. (1983). Short term memory does not Involve the ’Worklng memory,* of
Oberauer, Klaus; Lange, Elke; Engle, Randall W.
Single-task and dual-task versions of verbal and spatial serial order memory tasks were administered to 120 students tested for working memory capacity with four previously validated measures. In the dual-task versions, similarity between the memory material and the material of the secondary processing task was varied. With verbal material, three…
Al-Ahmadi, Fatheya; Oraif, Fatima
Working memory capacity is now well established as a rate determining factor in much learning and assessment, especially in the sciences. Most of the research has focussed on performance in tests and examinations in subject areas. This paper outlines some exploratory work in which other outcomes are related to working memory capacity. Confidence…
Buehner, M.; Krumm, S.; Pick, M.
The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship between attention, components of working memory, and reasoning. Therefore, twenty working memory tests, two attention tests, and nine intelligence subtests were administered to 135 students. Using structural equation modeling, we were able to replicate a functional model of working memory…
Keogh, Rebecca; Pearson, Joel
Visual working memory provides an essential link between past and future events. Despite recent efforts, capacity limits, their genesis and the underlying neural structures of visual working memory remain unclear. Here we show that performance in visual working memory - but not iconic visual memory - can be predicted by the strength of mental imagery as assessed with binocular rivalry in a given individual. In addition, for individuals with strong imagery, modulating the background luminance diminished performance on visual working memory and imagery tasks, but not working memory for number strings. This suggests that luminance signals were disrupting sensory-based imagery mechanisms and not a general working memory system. Individuals with poor imagery still performed above chance in the visual working memory task, but their performance was not affected by the background luminance, suggesting a dichotomy in strategies for visual working memory: individuals with strong mental imagery rely on sensory-based imagery to support mnemonic performance, while those with poor imagery rely on different strategies. These findings could help reconcile current controversy regarding the mechanism and location of visual mnemonic storage. PMID:22195024
Henry, Lucy A.; Botting, Nicola
Children with developmental language impairments (DLI) are often reported to show difficulties with working memory. This review describes the four components of the well-established working memory model, and considers whether there is convincing evidence for difficulties within each component in children with DLI. The emphasis is on the most…
Rasmussen, C.; Bisanz, J.
Working memory has been implicated in the early acquisition of arithmetic skill, but the relations among different components of working memory, performance on different types of arithmetic problems, and development have not been explored. Preschool and Grade 1 children completed measures of phonological, visual-spatial, and central executive…
Liefooghe, Baptist; Barrouillet, Pierre; Vandierendonck, Andre; Camos, Valerie
Although many accounts of task switching emphasize the importance of working memory as a substantial source of the switch cost, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating that task switching actually places additional demands on working memory. The present study addressed this issue by implementing task switching in continuous complex span tasks…
Perry, Tracy L.; Malaia, Evguenia
For any complex mental task, people rely on working memory. Working memory capacity (WMC) is one predictor of success in learning. Historically, attempts to improve verbal WM through training have not been effective. This study provided elementary students with WM consolidation efficiency training to answer the question, Can reading comprehension…
Takeuchi, Hikaru; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Taki, Yasuyuki; Yokoyama, Satoru; Yomogida, Yukihito; Komuro, Nozomi; Yamanouchi, Tohru; Suzuki, Shozo; Kawashima, Ryuta
Working memory is the limited capacity storage system involved in the maintenance and manipulation of information over short periods of time. Individual capacity of working memory is associated with the integrity of white matter in the frontoparietal regions. It is unknown to what extent the integrity of white matter underlying the working memory system is plastic. Using voxel-based analysis (VBA) of fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of fiber tracts, we investigated the effect of working memory training on structural connectivity in an interventional study. The amount of working memory training correlated with increased FA in the white matter regions adjacent to the intraparietal sulcus and the anterior part of the body of the corpus callosum after training. These results showed training-induced plasticity in regions that are thought to be critical in working memory. As changes in myelination lead to FA changes in diffusion tensor imaging, a possible mechanism for the observed FA change is increased myelination after training. Observed structural changes may underlie previously reported improvement of working memory capacity, improvement of other cognitive functions, and altered functional activity following working memory training.
Jansson, Maria; Wendt, Maria; Ase, Cecilia
In this article, we present the results of a research project where we have tried to elaborate more socially inclusive ways of teaching and learning political science by making use of a specific feminist method of analyzing social relations--memory work. As a method, memory work involves writing and interpreting stories of personal experience,…
St. Clair-Thompson, Helen L.
Previous research has suggested that working memory difficulties play an integral role in children's underachievement at school. However, working memory is just one of several executive functions. The extent to which problems in working memory extend to other executive functions is not well understood. In the current study 38 children with a poor…
Redick, Thomas S.; Shipstead, Zach; Wiemers, Elizabeth A.; Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Hulme, Charles
Working memory training programs have generated great interest, with claims that the training interventions can have profound beneficial effects on children's academic and intellectual attainment. We describe the criteria by which to evaluate evidence for or against the benefit of working memory training. Despite the promising results of initial…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
Working memory plays a key role in supporting children's learning over the school years, and beyond this into adulthood. It is proposed here that working memory is crucially required to store information while other material is being mentally manipulated during the classroom learning activities that form the foundations for the acquisition of…
Cohen, Henri; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco; Scherzer, Peter
Blind individuals have been shown on multiple occasions to compensate for their loss of sight by developing exceptional abilities in their remaining senses. While most research has been focused on perceptual abilities per se in the auditory and tactile modalities, recent work has also investigated higher-order processes involving memory and language functions. Here we examined tactile working memory for Braille in two groups of visually challenged individuals (completely blind subjects, CBS; blind with residual vision, BRV). In a first experimental procedure both groups were given a Braille tactile memory span task with and without articulatory suppression, while the BRV and a sighted group performed a visual version of the task. It was shown that the Braille tactile working memory (BrWM) of CBS individuals under articulatory suppression is as efficient as that of sighted individuals' visual working memory in the same condition. Moreover, the results suggest that BrWM may be more robust in the CBS than in the BRV subjects, thus pointing to the potential role of visual experience in shaping tactile working memory. A second experiment designed to assess the nature (spatial vs. verbal) of this working memory was then carried out with two new CBS and BRV groups having to perform the Braille task concurrently with a mental arithmetic task or a mental displacement of blocks task. We show that the disruption of memory was greatest when concurrently carrying out the mental displacement of blocks, indicating that the Braille tactile subsystem of working memory is likely spatial in nature in CBS. The results also point to the multimodal nature of working memory and show how experience can shape the development of its subcomponents.
Cohen, Henri; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco; Scherzer, Peter
Blind individuals have been shown on multiple occasions to compensate for their loss of sight by developing exceptional abilities in their remaining senses. While most research has been focused on perceptual abilities per se in the auditory and tactile modalities, recent work has also investigated higher-order processes involving memory and language functions. Here we examined tactile working memory for Braille in two groups of visually challenged individuals (completely blind subjects, CBS; blind with residual vision, BRV). In a first experimental procedure both groups were given a Braille tactile memory span task with and without articulatory suppression, while the BRV and a sighted group performed a visual version of the task. It was shown that the Braille tactile working memory (BrWM) of CBS individuals under articulatory suppression is as efficient as that of sighted individuals' visual working memory in the same condition. Moreover, the results suggest that BrWM may be more robust in the CBS than in the BRV subjects, thus pointing to the potential role of visual experience in shaping tactile working memory. A second experiment designed to assess the nature (spatial vs. verbal) of this working memory was then carried out with two new CBS and BRV groups having to perform the Braille task concurrently with a mental arithmetic task or a mental displacement of blocks task. We show that the disruption of memory was greatest when concurrently carrying out the mental displacement of blocks, indicating that the Braille tactile subsystem of working memory is likely spatial in nature in CBS. The results also point to the multimodal nature of working memory and show how experience can shape the development of its subcomponents. PMID:20520807
Schwarb, Hillary; Nail, Jayde; Schumacher, Eric H
Since antiquity, philosophers, theologians, and scientists have been interested in human memory. However, researchers today are still working to understand the capabilities, boundaries, and architecture. While the storage capabilities of long-term memory are seemingly unlimited (Bahrick, J Exp Psychol 113:1-2, 1984), working memory, or the ability to maintain and manipulate information held in memory, seems to have stringent capacity limits (e.g., Cowan, Behav Brain Sci 24:87-185, 2001). Individual differences, however, do exist and these differences can often predict performance on a wide variety of tasks (cf. Engle What is working-memory capacity? 297-314, 2001). Recently, researchers have promoted the enticing possibility that simple behavioral training can expand the limits of working memory which indeed may also lead to improvements on other cognitive processes as well (cf. Morrison and Chein, Psychol Bull Rev 18:46-60 2011). However, initial investigations across a wide variety of cognitive functions have produced mixed results regarding the transferability of training-related improvements. Across two experiments, the present research focuses on the benefit of working memory training on visual short-term memory capacity-a cognitive process that has received little attention in the training literature. Data reveal training-related improvement of global measures of visual short-term memory as well as of measures of the independent sub-processes that contribute to capacity (Awh et al., Psychol Sci 18(7):622-628, 2007). These results suggest that the ability to inhibit irrelevant information within and between trials is enhanced via n-back training allowing for selective improvement on untrained tasks. Additionally, we highlight a potential limitation of the standard adaptive training procedure and propose a modified design to ensure variability in the training environment.
Pyka, Martin; Hahn, Tim; Heider, Dominik; Krug, Axel; Sommer, Jens; Kircher, Tilo; Jansen, Andreas
The conceptual notion of the so-called resting state of the brain has been recently challenged by studies indicating a continuing effect of cognitive processes on subsequent rest. In particular, activity in posterior parietal and medial prefrontal areas has been found to be modulated by preceding experimental conditions. In this study, we investigated which brain areas show working memory dependent patterns in subsequent baseline periods and how specific they are for the preceding experimental condition. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, 94 subjects performed a letter-version of the n-back task with the conditions 0-back and 2-back followed by a low-level baseline in which subjects had to passively observe the letters appearing. In a univariate analysis, 2-back served as control condition while 0-back, baseline after 0-back and baseline after 2-back were modeled as regressors to test for activity changes between both baseline conditions. Additionally, we tested, using Gaussian process classifiers, the recognition of task condition from functional images acquired during baseline. Besides the expected activity changes in the precuneus and medial prefrontal cortex, we found differential activity in the thalamus, putamen, and postcentral gyrus that were affected by the preceding task. The multivariate analysis revealed that images of the subsequent baseline block contain task related patterns that yield a recognition rate of 70%. The results suggest that the influence of a cognitive task on subsequent baseline is strong and specific for some areas but not restricted to areas of the so-called default mode network.
Ricker, Timothy J.; Cowan, Nelson
Understanding forgetting from working memory, the memory used in ongoing cognitive processing, is critical to understanding human cognition. In the past decade, a number of conflicting findings have been reported regarding the role of time in forgetting from working memory. This has led to a debate concerning whether longer retention intervals…
Oberauer, Klaus; Sub, Heinz-Martin; Wilhelm, Oliver; Wittmann, Werner W.
Investigates the relationship between three factors of working memory (storage and processing, relational integration, and supervision) and four factors of intelligence (reasoning, speed, memory, and creativity) using structural equation models. Relational integration predicted reasoning ability at least as well as the storage-and-processing…
Yuan, Kun; Steedle, Jeffrey; Shavelson, Richard; Alonzo, Alicia; Oppezzo, Marily
A review of the history of working memory (WM) studies finds that the concept of WM evolved from short-term memory to a multi-component system. Comparison between contemporary WM models reveals: (1) consensus that the content of WM includes not only task-relevant information, but also task-irrelevant information; (2) consensus that WM consists of…
King, Tricia Z; Na, Sabrina; Mao, Hui
Adult survivors of childhood brain tumors are at risk for cognitive performance deficits that require the core cognitive skill of working memory. Our goal was to examine the neural mechanisms underlying working memory performance in survivors. We studied the working memory of adult survivors of pediatric posterior fossa brain tumors using a letter n-back paradigm with varying cognitive workload (0-, 1-, 2-, and 3-back) and functional magnetic resonance imaging as well as neuropsychological measures. Survivors of childhood brain tumors evidenced lower working memory performance than demographically matched healthy controls. Whole-brain analyses revealed significantly greater blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activation in the left superior / middle frontal gyri and left parietal lobe during working memory (2-back versus 0-back contrast) in survivors. Left frontal BOLD response negatively correlated with 2- and 3-back working memory performance, Auditory Consonant Trigrams (ACT), and Digit Span Backwards. In contrast, parietal lobe BOLD response negatively correlated with 0-back (vigilance task) and ACT. The results revealed that adult survivors of childhood posterior fossa brain tumors recruited additional cognitive control resources in the prefrontal lobe during increased working memory demands. This increased prefrontal activation is associated with lower working memory performance and is consistent with the allocation of latent resources theory.
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oberauer, Klaus; Yang, Lee-Xieng; Ecker, Ullrich K H
We present a battery of four working memory tasks that are implemented using MATLAB and the free Psychophysics Toolbox. The package includes preprocessing scripts in R and SPSS to facilitate data analysis. The four tasks consist of a sentence-span task, an operation-span task, a spatial short-term memory test, and a memory updating task. These tasks were chosen in order to provide a heterogeneous set of measures of working memory capacity, thus reducing method variance and tapping into two content domains of working memory (verbal, including numerical, vs. spatial) and two of its functional aspects (storage in the context of processing and relational integration). The task battery was validated in three experiments conducted in two languages (English and Chinese), involving more than 350 participants. In all cases, the tasks were found to load on a single latent variable. In a further experiment, the latent working memory variable was found to correlate highly but not perfectly with performance on Raven's matrices test of fluid intelligence. We suggest that the battery constitutes a versatile tool to assess working memory capacity with either English- or Chinese-speaking participants. The battery can be downloaded from www.cogsciwa.com ("Software" button).
Apter, Brian J. B.
A critical review of working memory training research during the last 10 years is provided. Particular attention is given to research that has attempted to investigate the efficacy of commercially marketed computerised training programmes such as "Cogmed" and "Jungle Memory". Claimed benefits are questioned on the basis that research methodologies…
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Gibson, Bradley S.; McNerney, M. Windy
Research on language comprehension suggests a strong relationship between working memory span measures and language comprehension. However, there is also evidence that this relationship weakens at higher levels of comprehension, such as the situation model level. The current study explored this relationship by comparing 10 grapheme–color synesthetes who have additional color experiences when they read words that begin with different letters and 48 normal controls on a number of tests of complex working memory capacity and processing at the situation model level. On all tests of working memory capacity, the synesthetes outperformed the controls. Importantly, there was no carryover benefitmore » for the synesthetes for processing at the situation model level. This reinforces the idea that although some aspects of language comprehension are related to working memory span scores, this applies less directly to situation model levels. As a result, this suggests that theories of working memory must take into account this limitation, and the working memory processes that are involved in situation model construction and processing must be derived.« less
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Gibson, Bradley S.; McNerney, M. Windy
Research on language comprehension suggests a strong relationship between working memory span measures and language comprehension. However, there is also evidence that this relationship weakens at higher levels of comprehension, such as the situation model level. The current study explored this relationship by comparing 10 grapheme–color synesthetes who have additional color experiences when they read words that begin with different letters and 48 normal controls on a number of tests of complex working memory capacity and processing at the situation model level. On all tests of working memory capacity, the synesthetes outperformed the controls. Importantly, there was no carryover benefit for the synesthetes for processing at the situation model level. This reinforces the idea that although some aspects of language comprehension are related to working memory span scores, this applies less directly to situation model levels. As a result, this suggests that theories of working memory must take into account this limitation, and the working memory processes that are involved in situation model construction and processing must be derived.
Perciavalle, Valentina; Maci, Tiziana; Perciavalle, Vincenzo; Massimino, Simona; Coco, Marinella
The accumulation of lactate in the blood after a high-intensity exercise is associated with an increase of lactate extractions by the brain. Previously, a negative influence of blood lactate on attentional processes has been observed. The present study was carried out to examine the association of high blood lactate levels, induced with a maximal cycling, with another cognitive domain: working memory. For evaluation of working memory two different protocols were used: the first (Self-Ordered Pointing Task) capable of analyzing non-spatial working memory requiring the ability to generate and monitor a sequence of responses and the second for evaluating motor working memory necessary to perform a motor task. The study was carried out in 30 students (15 males and 15 females) who performed exhaustive exercise. In each subject, blood lactate was measured and motor as well as non-motor forms of working memory were evaluated before the exercise, at its end as well as 15 min after the exhaustion. It was observed that an increase of blood lactate levels is associated with a worsening of both types of working memory.
Sobczak-Edmans, M; Ng, T H B; Chan, Y C; Chew, E; Chuang, K H; Chen, S H A
The involvement of the human cerebellum in working memory has been well established in the last decade. However, the cerebro-cerebellar network for visual working memory is not as well defined. Our previous fMRI study showed superior and inferior cerebellar activations during a block design visual working memory task, but specific cerebellar contributions to cognitive processes in encoding, maintenance and retrieval have not yet been established. The current study examined cerebellar contributions to each of the components of visual working memory and presence of cerebellar hemispheric laterality was investigated. 40 young adults performed a Sternberg visual working memory task during fMRI scanning using a parametric paradigm. The contrast between high and low memory load during each phase was examined. We found that the most prominent activation was observed in vermal lobule VIIIb and bilateral lobule VI during encoding. Using a quantitative laterality index, we found that left-lateralized activation of lobule VIIIa was present in the encoding phase. In the maintenance phase, there was bilateral lobule VI and right-lateralized lobule VIIb activity. Changes in activation in right lobule VIIIa were present during the retrieval phase. The current results provide evidence that superior and inferior cerebellum contributes to visual working memory, with a tendency for left-lateralized activations in the inferior cerebellum during encoding and right-lateralized lobule VIIb activations during maintenance. The results of the study are in agreement with Baddeley's multi-component working memory model, but also suggest that stored visual representations are additionally supported by maintenance mechanisms that may employ verbal coding.
Jin, Seong-Uk; Park, Jang Woo; Kim, Yang-Tae; Ryeom, Hun-Kyu; Lee, Jongmin; Suh, Kyung Jin; Kim, Suk Hwan; Park, Sin-Jae; Jeong, Kyoung Sook; Ham, Jung-O; Kim, Yangho; Chang, Yongmin
Background It is well known that lead exposure induces neurotoxic effects, which can result in a variety of neurocognitive dysfunction. Especially, occupational lead exposures in adults are associated with decreases in cognitive performance including working memory. Despite recent advances in human neuroimaging techniques, the neural correlates of lead-exposed cognitive impairment remain unclear. Therefore, this study was aimed to compare the neural activations in relation to working memory function between the lead-exposed subjects and healthy controls. Methodology/Principal Findings Thirty-one lead-exposed subjects and 34 healthy subjects performed an n-back memory task during MRI scan. We performed fMRI using the 1-back and 2-back memory tasks differing in cognitive demand. Functional MRI data were analyzed using within- and between-group analysis. We found that the lead-exposed subjects showed poorer working memory performance during high memory loading task than the healthy subjects. In addition, between-group analyses revealed that the lead-exposed subjects showed reduced activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, pre supplementary motor areas, and inferior parietal cortex. Conclusions/Significance Our findings suggest that functional abnormalities in the frontoparietal working memory network might contribute to impairments in maintenance and manipulation of working memory in the lead-exposed subjects. PMID:25141213
Collins, Anne G E; Ciullo, Brittany; Frank, Michael J; Badre, David
Reinforcement learning in simple instrumental tasks is usually modeled as a monolithic process in which reward prediction errors are used to update expected values of choice options. This modeling ignores the different contributions of different memory and decision-making systems thought to contribute even to simple learning. In an fMRI experiment, we asked how working memory and incremental reinforcement learning processes interact to guide human learning. Working memory load was manipulated by varying the number of stimuli to be learned across blocks. Behavioral results and computational modeling confirmed that learning was best explained as a mixture of two mechanisms: a fast, capacity-limited, and delay-sensitive working memory process together with slower reinforcement learning. Model-based analysis of fMRI data showed that striatum and lateral prefrontal cortex were sensitive to reward prediction error, as shown previously, but critically, these signals were reduced when the learning problem was within capacity of working memory. The degree of this neural interaction related to individual differences in the use of working memory to guide behavioral learning. These results indicate that the two systems do not process information independently, but rather interact during learning.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTReinforcement learning theory has been remarkably productive at improving our understanding of instrumental learning as well as dopaminergic and striatal network function across many mammalian species. However, this neural network is only one contributor to human learning, and other mechanisms such as prefrontal cortex working memory, also play a key role. Our results show in addition that these other players interact with the dopaminergic RL system, interfering with its key computation of reward predictions errors.
Zilli, Eric A; Hasselmo, Michael E
Researchers use a variety of behavioral tasks to analyze the effect of biological manipulations on memory function. This research will benefit from a systematic mathematical method for analyzing memory demands in behavioral tasks. In the framework of reinforcement learning theory, these tasks can be mathematically described as partially-observable Markov decision processes. While a wealth of evidence collected over the past 15 years relates the basal ganglia to the reinforcement learning framework, only recently has much attention been paid to including psychological concepts such as working memory or episodic memory in these models. This paper presents an analysis that provides a quantitative description of memory states sufficient for correct choices at specific decision points. Using information from the mathematical structure of the task descriptions, we derive measures that indicate whether working memory (for one or more cues) or episodic memory can provide strategically useful information to an agent. In particular, the analysis determines which observed states must be maintained in or retrieved from memory to perform these specific tasks. We demonstrate the analysis on three simplified tasks as well as eight more complex memory tasks drawn from the animal and human literature (two alternation tasks, two sequence disambiguation tasks, two non-matching tasks, the 2-back task, and the 1-2-AX task). The results of these analyses agree with results from quantitative simulations of the task reported in previous publications and provide simple indications of the memory demands of the tasks which can require far less computation than a full simulation of the task. This may provide a basis for a quantitative behavioral stoichiometry of memory tasks.
Jiang, Yuhong V; Lee, Hyejin J; Asaad, Anthony; Remington, Roger
Perceptual similarity is an important property of multiple stimuli. Its computation supports a wide range of cognitive functions, including reasoning, categorization, and memory recognition. It is important, therefore, to determine why previous research has found conflicting effects of inter-item similarity on visual working memory. Studies reporting a similarity advantage have used simple stimuli whose similarity varied along a featural continuum. Studies reporting a similarity disadvantage have used complex stimuli from either a single or multiple categories. To elucidate stimulus conditions for similarity effects in visual working memory, we tested memory for complex stimuli (faces) whose similarity varied along a morph continuum. Participants encoded 3 morphs generated from a single face identity in the similar condition, or 3 morphs generated from different face identities in the dissimilar condition. After a brief delay, a test face appeared at one of the encoding locations for participants to make a same/different judgment. Two experiments showed that similarity enhanced memory accuracy without changing the response criterion. These findings support previous computational models that incorporate featural variance as a component of working memory load. They delineate limitations of models that emphasize cortical resources or response decisions.
Oberauer, Klaus; Lin, Hsuan-Yu
The article introduces an interference model of working memory for information in a continuous similarity space, such as the features of visual objects. The model incorporates the following assumptions: (a) Probability of retrieval is determined by the relative activation of each retrieval candidate at the time of retrieval; (b) activation comes from 3 sources in memory: cue-based retrieval using context cues, context-independent memory for relevant contents, and noise; (c) 1 memory object and its context can be held in the focus of attention, where it is represented with higher precision, and partly shielded against interference. The model was fit to data from 4 continuous-reproduction experiments testing working memory for colors or orientations. The experiments involved variations of set size, kind of context cues, precueing, and retro-cueing of the to-be-tested item. The interference model fit the data better than 2 competing models, the Slot-Averaging model and the Variable-Precision resource model. The interference model also fared well in comparison to several new models incorporating alternative theoretical assumptions. The experiments confirm 3 novel predictions of the interference model: (a) Nontargets intrude in recall to the extent that they are close to the target in context space; (b) similarity between target and nontarget features improves recall, and (c) precueing-but not retro-cueing-the target substantially reduces the set-size effect. The success of the interference model shows that working memory for continuous visual information works according to the same principles as working memory for more discrete (e.g., verbal) contents. Data and model codes are available at https://osf.io/wgqd5/. (PsycINFO Database Record
Unsworth, Nash; Engle, Randall W.
Studies examining individual differences in working memory capacity have suggested that individuals with low working memory capacities demonstrate impaired performance on a variety of attention and memory tasks compared with individuals with high working memory capacities. This working memory limitation can be conceived of as arising from 2…
Richey, J Elizabeth; Phillips, Jeffrey S; Schunn, Christian D; Schneider, Walter
Analogical reasoning has been hypothesized to critically depend upon working memory through correlational data, but less work has tested this relationship through experimental manipulation. An opportunity for examining the connection between working memory and analogical reasoning has emerged from the growing, although somewhat controversial, body of literature suggests complex working memory training can sometimes lead to working memory improvements that transfer to novel working memory tasks. This study investigated whether working memory improvements, if replicated, would increase analogical reasoning ability. We assessed participants' performance on verbal and visual analogy tasks after a complex working memory training program incorporating verbal and spatial tasks. Participants' improvements on the working memory training tasks transferred to other short-term and working memory tasks, supporting the possibility of broad effects of working memory training. However, we found no effects on analogical reasoning. We propose several possible explanations for the lack of an impact of working memory improvements on analogical reasoning.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Kirkwood, Hannah; Elliott, Julian
The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential of the Working Memory Rating Scale (WMRS), an observer-based rating scale that reflects behavioral difficulties of children with poor working memory. The findings indicate good internal reliability and adequate psychometric properties for use as a screening tool by teachers. Higher…
Barch, Deanna M.; Berman, Marc G.; Engle, Randy; Jones, Jessica Hurdelbrink; Jonides, John; MacDonald, Angus; Nee, Derek Evan; Redick, Thomas S.; Sponheim, Scott R.
The third meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) was focused on selecting promising measures for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of working memory, the 2 constructs of interest were goal maintenance and interference control. CNTRICS received 3 task nominations for each of these constructs, and the breakout group for working memory evaluated the degree to which each of these tasks met prespecified criteria. For goal maintenance, the breakout group for working memory recommended the AX-Continuous Performance Task/Dot Pattern Expectancy task for translation for use in clinical trial contexts in schizophrenia research. For interference control, the breakout group recommended the recent probes and operation/symmetry span tasks for translation for use in clinical trials. This article describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used by the breakout group to recommend tasks for further development. PMID:18990711
Goolsby, Brian A; Shapiro, Kimron L; Raymond, Jane E
Visual stimuli seen previously as distractors in a visual search task are subsequently evaluated more negatively than those seen as targets. An attentional inhibition account for this distractor-devaluation effect posits that associative links between attentional inhibition and to-be-ignored stimuli are established during search, stored, and then later reinstantiated, implying that distractor devaluation may require visual working memory (WM) resources. To assess this, we measured distractor devaluation with and without a concurrent visual WM load. Participants viewed a memory array, performed a simple search task, evaluated one of the search items (or a novel item), and then viewed a memory test array. Although distractor devaluation was observed with low (and no) WM load, it was absent when WM load was increased. This result supports the notions that active association of current attentional states with stimuli requires WM and that memory for these associations plays a role in affective response.
del Angel, Jacqueline; Cortez, Juventino; Juárez, Diana; Guerrero, Martha; García, Aída; Ramírez, Candelaria; Valdez, Pablo
Sleep reduction impairs the performance of many tasks, so it may affect a basic cognitive process, such as working memory, crucial for the execution of a broad range of activities. Working memory has two storage components: a phonological and a visuospatial component. The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of sleep reduction for 5 days on the storage components of working memory. Thirteen undergraduate students (18.77±2.20 years of age), 5 men and 8 women, responded two N-Back tasks (auditory and visual), with three sections each (0-Back, 1-Back, and 2-Back). These tasks were performed at 13:00 h under the following conditions: before sleep reduction (control; C); on the first (SR1), fourth (SR4), and fifth (SR5) days of sleep reduction (4 h of sleep per night); and one day after they slept freely (recovery, R). Sleep reduction produced a decrement in accuracy on the auditory 2-Back section the fifth day of sleep reduction (C=87.86±13.35%; SR5=74.76±16.37%; F=14.57, p<0.01). In the visual 2-Back section accuracy decreased (C=88.10±9.95%; SR1=82.45±11.57%; SR5=77.76±14.14%; F=10.80, p<0.05), and reaction time increased (C=810.02±173.96 ms; SR1=913.51±172.25 ms; SR5=874.78±172.27 ms; F=10.80, p<0.05) on the first and fifth day of sleep reduction. In conclusion, five days of sleep reduction produces a decrease in the phonological and visuospatial storage components of working memory, which may interfere with processing verbal information and solving problems that require spatial analysis. PMID:26483947
Del Angel, Jacqueline; Cortez, Juventino; Juárez, Diana; Guerrero, Martha; García, Aída; Ramírez, Candelaria; Valdez, Pablo
Sleep reduction impairs the performance of many tasks, so it may affect a basic cognitive process, such as working memory, crucial for the execution of a broad range of activities. Working memory has two storage components: a phonological and a visuospatial component. The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of sleep reduction for 5 days on the storage components of working memory. Thirteen undergraduate students (18.77±2.20 years of age), 5 men and 8 women, responded two N-Back tasks (auditory and visual), with three sections each (0-Back, 1-Back, and 2-Back). These tasks were performed at 13:00 h under the following conditions: before sleep reduction (control; C); on the first (SR1), fourth (SR4), and fifth (SR5) days of sleep reduction (4 h of sleep per night); and one day after they slept freely (recovery, R). Sleep reduction produced a decrement in accuracy on the auditory 2-Back section the fifth day of sleep reduction (C=87.86±13.35%; SR5=74.76±16.37%; F=14.57, p<0.01). In the visual 2-Back section accuracy decreased (C=88.10±9.95%; SR1=82.45±11.57%; SR5=77.76±14.14%; F=10.80, p<0.05), and reaction time increased (C=810.02±173.96 ms; SR1=913.51±172.25 ms; SR5=874.78±172.27 ms; F=10.80, p<0.05) on the first and fifth day of sleep reduction. In conclusion, five days of sleep reduction produces a decrease in the phonological and visuospatial storage components of working memory, which may interfere with processing verbal information and solving problems that require spatial analysis.
Park, Jin Young; Min, Byoung-Kyong; Jung, Young-Chul; Pak, Hyensou; Jeong, Yeon-Hong; Kim, Eosu
Illumination conditions appear to influence working efficacy in everyday life. In the present study, we obtained electroencephalogram (EEG) correlates of working-memory load, and investigated how these waveforms are modulated by illumination conditions. We hypothesized that illumination conditions may affect cognitive performance. We designed an EEG study to monitor and record participants' EEG during the Sternberg working memory task under four different illumination conditions. Illumination conditions were generated with a factorial design of two color-temperatures (3000 and 7100 K) by two illuminance levels (150 and 700 lx). During a working memory task, we observed that high illuminance led to significantly lower frontal EEG theta activity than did low illuminance. These differences persisted despite no significant difference in task performance between illumination conditions. We found that the latency of an early event-related potential component, such as N1, was significantly modulated by the illumination condition. The fact that the illumination condition affects brain activity but not behavioral performance suggests that the lighting conditions used in the present study did not influence the performance stage of behavioral processing. Nevertheless, our findings provide objective evidence that illumination conditions modulate brain activity. Further studies are necessary to refine the optimal lighting parameters for facilitating working memory.
Stanley, Matthew L.; Dagenbach, Dale; Lyday, Robert G.; Burdette, Jonathan H.; Laurienti, Paul J.
Using graph theory measures common to complex network analyses of neuroimaging data, the objective of this study was to explore the effects of increasing working memory processing load on functional brain network topology in a cohort of young adults. Measures of modularity in complex brain networks quantify how well a network is organized into densely interconnected communities. We investigated changes in both the large-scale modular organization of the functional brain network as a whole and regional changes in modular organization as demands on working memory increased from n = 1 to n = 2 on the standard n-back task. We further investigated the relationship between modular properties across working memory load conditions and behavioral performance. Our results showed that regional modular organization within the default mode and working memory circuits significantly changed from 1-back to 2-back task conditions. However, the regional modular organization was not associated with behavioral performance. Global measures of modular organization did not change with working memory load but were associated with individual variability in behavioral performance. These findings indicate that regional and global network properties are modulated by different aspects of working memory under increasing load conditions. These findings highlight the importance of assessing multiple features of functional brain network topology at both global and regional scales rather than focusing on a single network property. PMID:25520639
Colom, Roberto; Martinez-Molina, Agustin; Shih, Pei Chun; Santacreu, Jose
Multitasking performance is relevant in everyday life and job analyses highlight the influence of multitasking over several diverse occupations. Intelligence is the best single predictor of overall job performance and it is also related to individual differences in multitasking. However, it has been shown that working memory capacity (WMC) is…
Gregory, Samantha E. A.; Jackson, Margaret C.
Joint attention--the mutual focus of 2 individuals on an item--speeds detection and discrimination of target information. However, what happens to that information beyond the initial perceptual episode? To fully comprehend and engage with our immediate environment also requires working memory (WM), which integrates information from second to…
Cowan, Nelson; Li, Dawei; Moffitt, Amanda; Becker, Theresa M.; Martin, Elizabeth A.; Saults, J. Scott; Christ, Shawn E.
Over 350 years ago, Descartes proposed that the neural basis of consciousness must be a brain region in which sensory inputs are combined. Using fMRI, we identified at least one such area for working memory, the limited information held in mind, described by William James as the trailing edge of consciousness. Specifically, a region in the left…
Fenesi, Barbara; Sana, Faria; Kim, Joseph A.; Shore, David I.
In recent years, research from cognitive science has provided a solid theoretical framework to develop evidence-based interventions in education. In particular, research into reading, writing, language, mathematics and multimedia learning has been guided by the application of Baddeley's multicomponent model of working memory. However, an…
Jackson, Margaret C.; Raymond, Jane E.
Although it is intuitive that familiarity with complex visual objects should aid their preservation in visual working memory (WM), empirical evidence for this is lacking. This study used a conventional change-detection procedure to assess visual WM for unfamiliar and famous faces in healthy adults. Across experiments, faces were upright or…
Tillman, Carin M.; Nyberg, Lilianne; Bohlin, Gunilla
This study investigated, in children aged 6-13 years, how different components of the working memory (WM) system (short-term storage and executive processes), within both verbal and visuospatial domains, relate to fluid intelligence. We also examined the degree of domain-specificity of the WM components as well as the differentiation of storage…
Oberauer, Klaus; Lewandowsky, Stephan
The article tests the assumption that forgetting in working memory for verbal materials is caused by time-based decay, using the complex-span paradigm. Participants encoded 6 letters for serial recall; each letter was preceded and followed by a processing period comprising 4 trials of difficult visual search. Processing duration, during which…
Mayer, Jamie F.; Murray, Laura L.
Purpose: Many adults with aphasia demonstrate concomitant deficits in working memory (WM), but such deficits are difficult to quantify because of a lack of validated measures as well as the complex interdependence between language and WM. We examined the feasibility, reliability, and internal consistency of an "n"-back task for…
Brady, Timothy F.; Tenenbaum, Joshua B.
When remembering a real-world scene, people encode both detailed information about specific objects and higher order information like the overall gist of the scene. However, formal models of change detection, like those used to estimate visual working memory capacity, assume observers encode only a simple memory representation that includes no…
Matzel, Louis D; Kolata, Stefan
Accumulating evidence indicates that the storage and processing capabilities of the human working memory system co-vary with individuals' performance on a wide range of cognitive tasks. The ubiquitous nature of this relationship suggests that variations in these processes may underlie individual differences in intelligence. Here we briefly review relevant data which supports this view. Furthermore, we emphasize an emerging literature describing a trait in genetically heterogeneous mice that is quantitatively and qualitatively analogous to general intelligence (g) in humans. As in humans, this animal analog of g co-varies with individual differences in both storage and processing components of the working memory system. Absent some of the complications associated with work with human subjects (e.g., phonological processing), this work with laboratory animals has provided an opportunity to assess otherwise intractable hypotheses. For instance, it has been possible in animals to manipulate individual aspects of the working memory system (e.g., selective attention), and to observe causal relationships between these variables and the expression of general cognitive abilities. This work with laboratory animals has coincided with human imaging studies (briefly reviewed here) which suggest that common brain structures (e.g., prefrontal cortex) mediate the efficacy of selective attention and the performance of individuals on intelligence test batteries. In total, this evidence suggests an evolutionary conservation of the processes that co-vary with and/or regulate "intelligence" and provides a framework for promoting these abilities in both young and old animals.
Lucidi, Annalisa; Langerock, Naomi; Hoareau, Violette; Lemaire, Benoît; Camos, Valérie; Barrouillet, Pierre
The causal role of verbal rehearsal in working memory has recently been called into question. For example, the SOB-CS (Serial Order in a Box-Complex Span) model assumes that there is no maintenance process for the strengthening of items in working memory, but instead a process of removal of distractors that are involuntarily encoded and create interference with memory items. In the present study, we tested the idea that verbal working memory performance can be accounted for without assuming a causal role of the verbal rehearsal process. We demonstrate in two experiments using a complex span task and a Brown-Peterson paradigm that increasing the number of repetitions of the same distractor (the syllable ba that was read aloud at each of its occurrences on screen) has a detrimental effect on the concurrent maintenance of consonants whereas the maintenance of spatial locations remains unaffected. A detailed analysis of the tasks demonstrates that accounting for this effect within the SOB-CS model requires a series of unwarranted assumptions leading to undesirable further predictions contradicted by available experimental evidence. We argue that the hypothesis of a maintenance mechanism based on verbal rehearsal that is impeded by concurrent articulation still provides the simplest and most compelling account of our results.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; McCallum, Fiona; Alloway, Ross G; Hoicka, Elena
The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of working memory in verbal deception in children. We presented 6- and 7-year-olds with a temptation resistance paradigm; they played a trivia game and were then given an opportunity to peek at the final answers on the back of a card. Measures of both verbal and visuospatial working memory were included. The good liars performed better on the verbal working memory test in both processing and recall compared with the bad liars. However, there was no difference in visuospatial working scores between good liars and bad liars. This pattern suggests that verbal working memory plays a role in processing and manipulating the multiple pieces of information involved in lie-telling.
Dunning, Darren L.; Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan E.
Children with low working memory typically make poor educational progress, and it has been speculated that difficulties in meeting the heavy working memory demands of the classroom may be a contributory factor. Intensive working memory training has been shown to boost performance on untrained memory tasks in a variety of populations. This first…
Schicktanz, Nathalie; Fastenrath, Matthias; Milnik, Annette; Spalek, Klara; Auschra, Bianca; Nyffeler, Thomas; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J.-F.; Schwegler, Kyrill
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a key role in working memory. Evidence indicates that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the DLPFC can interfere with working memory performance. Here we investigated for how long continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over the DLPFC decreases working memory performance and whether the effect of cTBS on performance depends on working memory load. Forty healthy young subjects received either cTBS over the left DLPFC or sham stimulation before performing a 2-, and 3-back working memory letter task. An additional 0-back condition served as a non-memory-related control, measuring general attention. cTBS over the left DLPFC significantly impaired 2-back working memory performance for about 15 min, whereas 3-back and 0-back performances were not significantly affected. Our results indicate that the effect of left DLPFC cTBS on working memory performance lasts for roughly 15 min and depends on working memory load. PMID:25781012
Dunning, Darren L; Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan E
Children with low working memory typically make poor educational progress, and it has been speculated that difficulties in meeting the heavy working memory demands of the classroom may be a contributory factor. Intensive working memory training has been shown to boost performance on untrained memory tasks in a variety of populations. This first randomized controlled trial with low working memory children investigated whether the benefits of training extend beyond standard working memory tasks to other more complex activities typical of the classroom in which working memory plays a role, as well as to other cognitive skills and developing academic abilities. Children aged 7–9 years received either adaptive working memory training, non-adaptive working memory training with low memory loads, or no training. Adaptive training was associated with selective improvements in multiple untrained tests of working memory, with no evidence of changes in classroom analogues of activities that tax working memory, or any other cognitive assessments. Gains in verbal working memory were sustained one year after training. Thus the benefits of working memory training delivered in this way may not extend beyond structured working memory tasks. PMID:24093880
Lum, Jarrad A G; Conti-Ramsden, Gina; Page, Debra; Ullman, Michael T
According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), abnormalities of brain structures underlying procedural memory largely explain the language deficits in children with specific language impairment (SLI). These abnormalities are posited to result in core deficits of procedural memory, which in turn explain the grammar problems in the disorder. The abnormalities are also likely to lead to problems with other, non-procedural functions, such as working memory, that rely at least partly on the affected brain structures. In contrast, declarative memory is expected to remain largely intact, and should play an important compensatory role for grammar. These claims were tested by examining measures of working, declarative and procedural memory in 51 children with SLI and 51 matched typically-developing (TD) children (mean age 10). Working memory was assessed with the Working Memory Test Battery for Children, declarative memory with the Children's Memory Scale, and procedural memory with a visuo-spatial Serial Reaction Time task. As compared to the TD children, the children with SLI were impaired at procedural memory, even when holding working memory constant. In contrast, they were spared at declarative memory for visual information, and at declarative memory in the verbal domain after controlling for working memory and language. Visuo-spatial short-term memory was intact, whereas verbal working memory was impaired, even when language deficits were held constant. Correlation analyses showed neither visuo-spatial nor verbal working memory was associated with either lexical or grammatical abilities in either the SLI or TD children. Declarative memory correlated with lexical abilities in both groups of children. Finally, grammatical abilities were associated with procedural memory in the TD children, but with declarative memory in the children with SLI. These findings replicate and extend previous studies of working, declarative and procedural memory in SLI. Overall, we
Fazio, Leonardo; D'Ambrosio, Enrico; Gelao, Barbara; Tomasicchio, Aldo; Selvaggi, Pierluigi; Taurisano, Paolo; Quarto, Tiziana; Masellis, Rita; Rampino, Antonio; Caforio, Grazia; Popolizio, Teresa; Blasi, Giuseppe; Sadee, Wolfgang; Bertolino, Alessandro
Background Prefrontal behavior and activity in humans are heritable. Studies in animals demonstrate an interaction between dopamine D2 receptors and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on prefrontal behavior but evidence in humans is weak. Therefore, we hypothesize that genetic variation regulating dopamine D2 and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor signaling impact prefrontal cortex activity and related cognition. To test this hypothesis in humans, we explored the interaction between functional genetic variants in the D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560) and in the nicotinic receptor α5 gene (CHRNA5, rs16969968) on both dorsolateral prefrontal cortex mediated behavior and physiology during working memory and on prefrontal gray matter volume. Methods A large sample of healthy subjects was compared for genotypic differences for DRD2 rs1076560 (G>T) and CHNRA5 rs16969968 (G>A) on prefrontal phenotypes, including cognitive performance at the N-Back task, prefrontal physiology with BOLD fMRI during performance of the 2-Back working memory task, and prefrontal morphometry with structural MRI. Results We found that DRD2 rs1076560 and CHNRA5 rs16969968 interact to modulate cognitive function, prefrontal physiology during working memory, and prefrontal gray matter volume. More specifically, CHRNA5-AA/DRD2-GT subjects had greater behavioral performance, more efficient prefrontal cortex activity at 2Back working memory task, and greater prefrontal gray matter volume than the other genotype groups. Conclusions The present data extend previous studies in animals and enhance our understanding of dopamine and acetylcholine signaling in the human prefrontal cortex, demonstrating interactions elicited by working memory that are modulated by genetic variants in DRD2 and CHRNA5. PMID:24819610
Christophel, Thomas B; Klink, P Christiaan; Spitzer, Bernhard; Roelfsema, Pieter R; Haynes, John-Dylan
Studies in humans and non-human primates have provided evidence for storage of working memory contents in multiple regions ranging from sensory to parietal and prefrontal cortex. We discuss potential explanations for these distributed representations: (i) features in sensory regions versus prefrontal cortex differ in the level of abstractness and generalizability; and (ii) features in prefrontal cortex reflect representations that are transformed for guidance of upcoming behavioral actions. We propose that the propensity to produce persistent activity is a general feature of cortical networks. Future studies may have to shift focus from asking where working memory can be observed in the brain to how a range of specialized brain areas together transform sensory information into a delayed behavioral response.
Satler, Corina; Tomaz, Carlos
Background Few studies have assessed whether emotional content affects processes supporting working memory in Alzheimer disease (AD) patients. Methods We assessed 22 AD patients and 40 elderly controls (EC) with a delayed matching and non-matching to sample task (DMST/DNMST), and a spatial-delayed recognition span task (SRST; unique/varied) using emotional stimuli. Results AD patients showed decreased performance on both tasks compared with EC. With regard to the valence of the stimuli, we did not observe significant performance differences between groups in the DMST/DNMST. However, both groups remembered a larger number of negative than positive or neutral pictures on unique SRST. Conclusion The results suggest that AD patients show a relative preservation of working memory for emotional information, particularly for negative stimuli. PMID:22163239
Jones, Kevin T.; Stephens, Jaclyn A.; Alam, Mahtab; Bikson, Marom; Berryhill, Marian E.
An increasing concern affecting a growing aging population is working memory (WM) decline. Consequently, there is great interest in improving or stabilizing WM, which drives expanded use of brain training exercises. Such regimens generally result in temporary WM benefits to the trained tasks but minimal transfer of benefit to untrained tasks. Pairing training with neurostimulation may stabilize or improve WM performance by enhancing plasticity and strengthening WM-related cortical networks. We tested this possibility in healthy older adults. Participants received 10 sessions of sham (control) or active (anodal, 1.5 mA) tDCS to the right prefrontal, parietal, or prefrontal/parietal (alternating) cortices. After ten minutes of sham or active tDCS, participants performed verbal and visual WM training tasks. On the first, tenth, and follow-up sessions, participants performed transfer WM tasks including the spatial 2-back, Stroop, and digit span tasks. The results demonstrated that all groups benefited from WM training, as expected. However, at follow-up 1-month after training ended, only the participants in the active tDCS groups maintained significant improvement. Importantly, this pattern was observed for both trained and transfer tasks. These results demonstrate that tDCS-linked WM training can provide long-term benefits in maintaining cognitive training benefits and extending them to untrained tasks. PMID:25849358
Michels, Lars; Martin, Ernst; Klaver, Peter; Edden, Richard; Zelaya, Fernando; Lythgoe, David J; Lüchinger, Rafael; Brandeis, Daniel; O'Gorman, Ruth L
Functional neuroimaging metrics are thought to reflect changes in neurotransmitter flux, but changes in neurotransmitter levels have not been demonstrated in humans during a cognitive task, and the relationship between neurotransmitter dynamics and hemodynamic activity during cognition has not yet been established. We evaluate the concentration of the major inhibitory (GABA) and excitatory (glutamate + glutamine: Glx) neurotransmitters and the cerebral perfusion at rest and during a prolonged delayed match-to-sample working memory task. Resting GABA levels in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex correlated positively with the resting perfusion and inversely with the change in perfusion during the task. Further, only GABA increased significantly during the first working memory run and then decreased continuously across subsequent task runs. The decrease of GABA over time was paralleled by a trend towards decreased reaction times and higher task accuracy. These results demonstrate a link between neurotransmitter dynamics and hemodynamic activity during working memory, indicating that functional neuroimaging metrics depend on the balance of excitation and inhibition required for cognitive processing.
Spitzer, Bernhard; Blankenburg, Felix
Previous studies of delayed-match-to-sample (DMTS) frequency discrimination in animals and humans have succeeded in delineating the neural signature of frequency processing in somatosensory working memory (WM). During retention of vibrotactile frequencies, stimulus-dependent single-cell and population activity in prefrontal cortex was found to reflect the task-relevant memory content, whereas increases in occipital alpha activity signaled the disengagement of areas not relevant for the tactile task. Here, we recorded EEG from human participants to determine the extent to which these mechanisms can be generalized to frequency retention in the visual and auditory domains. Subjects performed analogous variants of a DMTS frequency discrimination task, with the frequency information presented either visually, auditorily, or by vibrotactile stimulation. Examining oscillatory EEG activity during frequency retention, we found characteristic topographical distributions of alpha power over visual, auditory, and somatosensory cortices, indicating systematic patterns of inhibition and engagement of early sensory areas, depending on stimulus modality. The task-relevant frequency information, in contrast, was found to be represented in right prefrontal cortex, independent of presentation mode. In each of the three modality conditions, parametric modulations of prefrontal upper beta activity (20-30 Hz) emerged, in a very similar manner as recently found in vibrotactile tasks. Together, the findings corroborate a view of parametric WM as supramodal internal scaling of abstract quantity information and suggest strong relevance of previous evidence from vibrotactile work for a more general framework of quantity processing in human working memory.
van den Berg, Ronald; Awh, Edward; Ma, Wei Ji
Three questions have been prominent in the study of visual working memory limitations: (a) What is the nature of mnemonic precision (e.g., quantized or continuous)? (b) How many items are remembered? (c) To what extent do spatial binding errors account for working memory failures? Modeling studies have typically focused on comparing possible answers to a single one of these questions, even though the result of such a comparison might depend on the assumed answers to both others. Here, we consider every possible combination of previously proposed answers to the individual questions. Each model is then a point in a 3-factor model space containing a total of 32 models, of which only 6 have been tested previously. We compare all models on data from 10 delayed-estimation experiments from 6 laboratories (for a total of 164 subjects and 131,452 trials). Consistently across experiments, we find that (a) mnemonic precision is not quantized but continuous and not equal but variable across items and trials; (b) the number of remembered items is likely to be variable across trials, with a mean of 6.4 in the best model (median across subjects); (c) spatial binding errors occur but explain only a small fraction of responses (16.5% at set size 8 in the best model). We find strong evidence against all 6 documented models. Our results demonstrate the value of factorial model comparison in working memory. PMID:24490791
Linares, Rocío; Borella, Erika; Lechuga, M Teresa; Carretti, Barbara; Pelegrina, Santiago
Working memory updating (WMU) is a core mechanism in the human mental architecture and a good predictor of a wide range of cognitive processes. This study analyzed the benefits of two different WMU training procedures, near transfer effects on a working memory measure, and far transfer effects on nonverbal reasoning. Maintenance of any benefits a month later was also assessed. Participants were randomly assigned to: an adaptive training group that performed two numerical WMU tasks during four sessions; a non-adaptive training group that performed the same tasks but on a constant and less demanding level of difficulty; or an active control group that performed other tasks unrelated with working memory. After the training, all three groups showed improvements in most of the tasks, and these benefits were maintained a month later. The gain in one of the two WMU measures was larger for the adaptive and non-adaptive groups than for the control group. This specific gain in a task similar to the one trained would indicate the use of a better strategy for performing the task. Besides this nearest transfer effect, no other transfer effects were found. The adaptability of the training procedure did not produce greater improvements. These results are discussed in terms of the training procedure and the feasibility of training WMU.
Bradley, V A; Welch, J L; Dick, D J
Visuospatial impairment is frequently reported in Parkinson's disease but the psychological mechanisms which subserve the impaired abilities and the way in which breakdown of the mechanisms leads to performance deficits have not been precisely delineated. This paper reports experimental investigations designed to test the hypothesis that the locus of the impairment is the visuospatial subsystem of working memory. Subjects were a group of sixteen patients with Parkinson's disease of mild to moderate severity and a matched control group. They performed complex visuospatial and verbal memory tasks. The Parkinsonian group were significantly slower than the control group when performing the visuospatial task. They were not significantly slower and made no more errors than the control group on the verbal task. The findings are compatible with the hypothesis that the visuospatial subsystem of working memory is impaired in Parkinson's disease. It is demonstrated that the impairment is not the result of a reduction in the capacity of this subsystem but is due to difficulty in utilising information stored in the subsystem to perform complex visuospatial tasks. PMID:2592967
Chen, Siyi; Müller, Hermann J; Conci, Markus
Amodal completion refers to the perceptual "filling-in" of partly occluded object fragments. Previous work has shown that object completion occurs efficiently, at early perceptual stages of processing. However, despite efficient early completion, at a later stage, the maintenance of complete-object representations in visual working memory (VWM) may be severely restricted due to limited mnemonic resources being available. To examine for such a limitation, we investigated whether the structure of to-be-remembered objects influences what is encoded and maintained in VWM using a change detection paradigm. Participants were presented with a memory display that contained either "composite" objects, that is, notched shapes abutting an occluding square, or equivalent unoccluded, "simple" objects. The results showed overall increased memory performance for simple relative to composite objects. Moreover, evidence for completion in VWM was found for composite objects that were interpreted as globally completed wholes, relative to local completions or an uncompleted mosaic (baseline) condition. This global completion advantage was obtained only when the "context" of simple objects also supported a global object interpretation. Finally, with an increase in memory set size, the global object advantage decreased substantially. These findings indicate that processes of amodal completion influence VWM performance until some overall-capacity limitation prevents completion. VWM completion processes do not operate automatically; rather, the representation format is determined top-down based on the simple object context provided. Overall, these findings support the notion of VWM as a capacity-limited resource, with storage capacity depending on the structured representation of to-be-remembered objects. (PsycINFO Database Record
Schoofs, Daniela; Preuss, Diana; Wolf, Oliver T
In contrast to the substantial number of studies investigating the effects of stress on declarative memory, effects of stress on working memory have received less attention. We compared working memory (numerical n-back task with single digits) in 40 men exposed either to psychosocial stress (Trier Social Stress Test (TSST)) or a control condition. Task difficulty was varied using two conditions (2-back vs. 3-back). Salivary cortisol (as a marker of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity) and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA as a marker of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity) were assessed immediately before and three times after the stress or control condition. As expected stress resulted in an increase in cortisol, sAA, and negative affect. Subjects exposed to stress showed significant working memory impairments in both workload conditions. The analysis of variance indicated a main effect of stress for reaction time as well as accuracy. In addition, for reaction time a stress-block interaction occurred. Follow up tests revealed that only during the first block at each level of difficulty performance was significantly impaired by stress. Thus, the effects of stress became smaller the longer the task was performed. Results provide further evidence for impaired working memory after acute stress and illustrate the time course of this phenomenon.
Oosterman, Joukje M.; Morel, Sascha; Meijer, Lisette; Buvens, Cleo; Kessels, Roy P. C.; Postma, Albert
The present study was intended to compare age effects on visual and spatial working memory by using two versions of the same task that differed only in presentation mode. The working memory task contained both a simultaneous and a sequential presentation mode condition, reflecting, respectively, visual and spatial working memory processes. Young…
Gathercole, Susan E.; Alloway, Tracy Packiam
A good working memory is crucial to becoming a successful leaner, yet there is very little material available in an easy-to-use format that explains the concept and offers practitioners ways to support children with poor working memory in the classroom. This book provides a coherent overview of the role played by working memory in learning during…
Peeters, Marieke; Verhoeven, Ludo; de Moor, Jan
The goal of the present study was to examine the precursors of verbal working memory in 52 children with cerebral palsy with varying degrees of speech impairments in the first grade of special education. Following Baddeley's model of working memory, children's verbal working memory was measured by means of a forced-recognition task. As precursors…
Wagar, B.M.; Dixon, M.J.
The nature of object representation in working memory is vital to establishing the capacity of working memory, which in turn shapes the limits of visual cognition and awareness. Although current theories discuss whether representations in working memory are feature-based or object-based, no theory has considered the role of past experience.…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
Working memory, ability to remember and manipulate information, is crucial to academic attainment. The aim of the present study was to understand teachers' perception of working memory and how it impacts classroom behaviour. A semi-structured interview was used to explore teachers' ability to define working memory, identify these difficulties in…
van Daal, John; Verhoeven, Ludo; van Leeuwe, Jan; van Balkom, Hans
In the present study, the relations of various aspects of working memory to various aspects of language problems in a clinical sample of 97 Dutch speaking 5-year-old children with severe language problems were studied. The working memory and language abilities of the children were examined using an extensive battery of tests. Working memory was…
Munneke, Jaap; Heslenfeld, Dirk J.; Theeuwes, Jan
The present study investigated how spatial working memory recruits early visual cortex. Participants were required to maintain a location in working memory while changes in blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals were measured during the retention interval in which no visual stimulation was present. We show working memory effects during the…
Posedel, James; Emery, Lisa; Souza, Benjamin; Fountain, Catherine
Previous research has suggested that training on a musical instrument is associated with improvements in working memory and musical pitch perception ability. Good working memory and musical pitch perception ability, in turn, have been linked to certain aspects of language production. The current study examines whether working memory and/or pitch…
Alderson, R Matt; Patros, Connor H G; Tarle, Stephanie J; Hudec, Kristen L; Kasper, Lisa J; Lea, Sarah E
Working memory (WM) and behavioral inhibition impairments have garnered significant attention as candidate core features, endophenotypes, and/or associated neurocognitive deficits of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The relationship between ADHD-related WM and inhibition deficits remains relatively unclear, however, with inferences about the constructs' directional relationship stemming predominantly from correlational research. The current study utilized a dual-task paradigm to experimentally examine the relationship between ADHD-related WM and behavioral inhibition deficits. A total of 31 boys (15 ADHD and 16 typically developing [TD]) aged 8-12 years completed WM (1-back and 2-back), behavioral inhibition (stop-signal task [SST]), and dual-condition (1-back/SST and 2-back/SST) experimental tasks. Children with ADHD exhibited significant, large-magnitude WM deficits for the 1-back condition but were not significantly different from children in the TD group for the 2-back, 1-back/SST, and 2-back/SST conditions. Children with ADHD also exhibited significant inhibition deficits for the SST, 1-back/SST, and 2-back/SST conditions, but the within-group effect was not significant. The findings suggest that ADHD-related stop-signal demands are upstream, or compete for, resources involved in controlled-focused attention and/or other central executive (CE), WM processes.
Morrison, Alexandra B; Chein, Jason M
A growing body of literature shows that one's working memory (WM) capacity can be expanded through targeted training. Given the established relationship between WM and higher cognition, these successful training studies have led to speculation that WM training may yield broad cognitive benefits. This review considers the current state of the emerging WM training literature, and details both its successes and limitations. We identify two distinct approaches to WM training, strategy training and core training, and highlight both the theoretical and practical motivations that guide each approach. Training-related increases in WM capacity have been successfully demonstrated across a wide range of subject populations, but different training techniques seem to produce differential impacts upon the broader landscape of cognitive abilities. In particular, core WM training studies seem to produce more far-reaching transfer effects, likely because they target domain-general mechanisms of WM. The results of individual studies encourage optimism regarding the value of WM training as a tool for general cognitive enhancement. However, we discuss several limitations that should be addressed before the field endorses the value of this approach.
Balsters, Joshua Henk; Robertson, Ian H; Calhoun, Vince D
Electrophysiology studies routinely investigate the relationship between neural oscillations and task performance. However, the sluggish nature of the BOLD response means that few researchers have investigated the spectral properties of the BOLD signal in a similar manner. For the first time we have applied group ICA to fMRI data collected during a standard working memory task (delayed match-to-sample) and using a multivariate analysis, we investigate the relationship between working memory performance (accuracy and reaction time) and BOLD spectral power within functional networks. Our results indicate that BOLD spectral power within specific networks (visual, temporal-parietal, posterior default-mode network, salience network, basal ganglia) correlated with task accuracy. Multivariate analyses show that the relationship between task accuracy and BOLD spectral power is stronger than the relationship between BOLD spectral power and other variables (age, gender, head movement, and neuropsychological measures). A traditional General Linear Model (GLM) analysis found no significant group differences, or regions that covaried in signal intensity with task accuracy, suggesting that BOLD spectral power holds unique information that is lost in a standard GLM approach. We suggest that the combination of ICA and BOLD spectral power is a useful novel index of cognitive performance that may be more sensitive to brain-behavior relationships than traditional approaches.
Mylius, V; Jung, M; Menzler, K; Haag, A; Khader, P H; Oertel, W H; Rosenow, F; Lefaucheur, J-P
Previous studies have shown that non-invasive stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) could modulate experimentally induced pain and working memory (WM) in healthy subjects. However, the two aspects have never been assessed concomitantly. The present study was set up to investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the DLPFC on thermal pain and WM in the same population of healthy volunteers. In a randomized and balanced order of different sessions separated by 1 week, 20 min of 2 mA anodal, cathodal or sham tDCS were applied to the left or right DLPFC in two separate experiments. Twelve healthy volunteers were enrolled for each stimulated hemisphere. Warm and cold detection thresholds, heat and cold pain thresholds as well as heat pain tolerance thresholds were measured before, during and following tDCS. WM was assessed by a 2-back task applied once during cortical stimulation. Anodal tDCS of the right DLPFC led to an increase of tolerance to heat pain. The 2-back task revealed fewer outliers during cathodal tDCS of the left DLPFC. The present data show an involvement of the DLPFC in the processing of pain and WM. There was no correlation between these findings, suggesting that the analgesic effects of cortical stimulation are not associated with cognitive processing. However, this conclusion is difficult to affirm because of some limitations of the study regarding the parameters of stimulation or a ceiling effect of the 2-back task for instance.
Ma, Liang; Chang, Lei; Chen, Xiaoying
This study developed a battery of computerized working memory (WM) tests and a scoring system suitable for young adult users. The tests comprised five classic tasks derived from Baddeley’s model of WM, reflecting each of the five WM functions. We recruited 115 undergraduate and graduate students from various academic fields and constructed a preliminary WM scoring norm for young adults. The scoring norm was used as a basis for developing a computerized assessment system. The results of correlation analysis show that the fluid intelligence of young adults is related to the memory function of WM, but not to the central executive system. The proposed working memory test battery for young adults comprehensively reflects the WM capacity of adults. PMID:28362867
Working memory is the retention of a small amount of information in a readily accessible form. It facilitates planning, comprehension, reasoning, and problem-solving. I examine the historical roots and conceptual development of the concept and the theoretical and practical implications of current debates about working memory mechanisms. Then I explore the nature of cognitive developmental improvements in working memory, the role of working memory in learning, and some potential implications of working memory and its development for the education of children and adults. The use of working memory is quite ubiquitous in human thought, but the best way to improve education using what we know about working memory is still controversial. I hope to provide some directions for research and educational practice. PMID:25346585
Alloway, Tracy; Gathercole, Susan E.; Kirkwood, Hannah; Elliott, Julian
The aim of the present study was to investigate the construct stability and diagnostic validity of a standardised computerised tool for assessing working memory: the Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA). The purpose of the AWMA is to provide educators with a quick and effective tool to screen for and support those with memory impairments.…
Archibald, Lisa M. D.; Harder Griebeling, Katherine
Background: Working memory deficits have been found for children with specific language impairment (SLI) on tasks imposing increasing short-term memory load with or without additional, consistent (and simple) processing load. Aims: To examine the processing function of working memory in children with low language (LL) by employing tasks imposing…
Engel, Pascale Marguerite Josiane; Santos, Flavia Heloisa; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth
Purpose: This study evaluated the impact of socioeconomic factors on children's performance on tests of working memory and vocabulary. Method: Twenty Brazilian children, aged 6 and 7 years, from low-income families, completed tests of working memory (verbal short-term memory and verbal complex span) and vocabulary (expressive and receptive). A…
Oberauer, Klaus; Kliegl, Reinhold
A mathematical model of working-memory capacity limits is proposed on the key assumption of mutual interference between items in working memory. Interference is assumed to arise from overwriting of features shared by these items. The model was fit to time-accuracy data of memory-updating tasks from four experiments using nonlinear mixed effect…
Goldin, Andrea Paula; Segretin, Maria Soledad; Hermida, Maria Julia; Paz, Luciano; Lipina, Sebastian Javier; Sigman, Mariano
Working memory and planning are fundamental cognitive skills supporting fluid reasoning. We show that 2 games that train working memory and planning skills in school-aged children promote transfer to 2 different tasks: an attentional test and a fluid reasoning test. We also show long-term improvement of planning and memory capacities in…
Jeneson, Annette; Squire, Larry R.
Early studies of memory-impaired patients with medial temporal lobe (MTL) damage led to the view that the hippocampus and related MTL structures are involved in the formation of long-term memory and that immediate memory and working memory are independent of these structures. This traditional idea has recently been revisited. Impaired performance…
Zhao, Xin; Wang, YiXue; Zhou, RenLai; Wang, LinJie; Tan, Cheng
The research evaluated the changes of verbal and spatial working memory with females during 15 days -6° head-down bed rest. We used 2-back task to evaluate the working memory ability on four time points: the fifth day before the rest, the fifth day and the tenth day in the rest and the fifth day after the rest, as well as record the participants' depression and anxiety feelings using Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) simultaneously. The results demonstrated that the trends of verbal and spatial working memory performance were consistent with that of the control group during the rest. Moreover, in the -6° head-down bed rest conditions, the participants have performed no damage on the working memory ability, and any clinically salient anxiety and depression. The research considered that, compared to the real space environment, individuals' undamaged cognitive functions probably have something to do with the failure of evoking clinical anxiety and depression in the stimulated weightless environment.
Reynolds, Greg D; Romano, Alexandra C
In this article, we review research and theory on the development of attention and working memory in infancy using a developmental cognitive neuroscience framework. We begin with a review of studies examining the influence of attention on neural and behavioral correlates of an earlier developing and closely related form of memory (i.e., recognition memory). Findings from studies measuring attention utilizing looking measures, heart rate, and event-related potentials (ERPs) indicate significant developmental change in sustained and selective attention across the infancy period. For example, infants show gains in the magnitude of the attention related response and spend a greater proportion of time engaged in attention with increasing age (Richards and Turner, 2001). Throughout infancy, attention has a significant impact on infant performance on a variety of tasks tapping into recognition memory; however, this approach to examining the influence of infant attention on memory performance has yet to be utilized in research on working memory. In the second half of the article, we review research on working memory in infancy focusing on studies that provide insight into the developmental timing of significant gains in working memory as well as research and theory related to neural systems potentially involved in working memory in early development. We also examine issues related to measuring and distinguishing between working memory and recognition memory in infancy. To conclude, we discuss relations between the development of attention systems and working memory.
Reynolds, Greg D.; Romano, Alexandra C.
In this article, we review research and theory on the development of attention and working memory in infancy using a developmental cognitive neuroscience framework. We begin with a review of studies examining the influence of attention on neural and behavioral correlates of an earlier developing and closely related form of memory (i.e., recognition memory). Findings from studies measuring attention utilizing looking measures, heart rate, and event-related potentials (ERPs) indicate significant developmental change in sustained and selective attention across the infancy period. For example, infants show gains in the magnitude of the attention related response and spend a greater proportion of time engaged in attention with increasing age (Richards and Turner, 2001). Throughout infancy, attention has a significant impact on infant performance on a variety of tasks tapping into recognition memory; however, this approach to examining the influence of infant attention on memory performance has yet to be utilized in research on working memory. In the second half of the article, we review research on working memory in infancy focusing on studies that provide insight into the developmental timing of significant gains in working memory as well as research and theory related to neural systems potentially involved in working memory in early development. We also examine issues related to measuring and distinguishing between working memory and recognition memory in infancy. To conclude, we discuss relations between the development of attention systems and working memory. PMID:26973473
Han, Suk Won
It is well known that attention is biased toward a stimulus matching working memory contents. However, it remains unknown whether the maintenance of information in working memory by itself is sufficient to create memory-driven attentional capture. Notably, in many previous studies showing the memory-driven attentional capture, the task settings might have explicitly or implicitly incentivized participants to strategically attend to a memory-matching stimulus. By innovating an experimental paradigm, the present study overcame this challenge and directly tested whether working memory contents capture attention in the absence of task-level attentional bias toward a memory-matching stimulus. I found that a stimulus that is usually outside the focus of attention, powerfully captured attention when it matched working memory contents, whereas a match between working memory and an inhibited stimulus suppressed attentional allocation toward the memory-matching stimulus. These findings suggest that in the absence of any task-level attentional bias toward memory-matching stimuli, attention is biased toward a memory-matching stimulus, but this memory-driven attentional capture is diminished when top-down inhibition is imposed on the stimulus.
Bialkova, Svetlana; Oberauer, Klaus
In two experiments participants held in working memory (WM) three digits in three different colors, and updated individual digits with the results of arithmetic equations presented in one of the colors. In the memory-access condition, a digit from WM had to be used as the first number in the equation; in the no-access condition, complete equations were presented so that no information from WM had to be accessed for the computation. Updating a digit not updated in the preceding step took longer than updating the same digit as in the preceding step, a time difference referred to as object-switch costs. Object-switch costs were equal in access and no-access equations, implying that they did not reflect the time to retrieve a new digit from WM. Access equations were completed as fast as no-access equations, implying that access to information in WM is as fast as reading the same information. No-access equations were slowed by a mismatch between the first digit of the presented equation and the to-be-updated digit in WM, showing that this digit is automatically accessed even when not needed. It is concluded that contents and their contexts form composites in WM that are necessarily accessed together.
Recent studies have shown that past selection history affects the allocation of attention on target selection. However, it is unclear whether context-driven selection history can modulate the efficacy of attention allocation on working memory (WM) representations. This study tests the influences of selection history on WM capacity. A display of one item (low load) or three/four items (high load) was shown for the participants to hold in WM in a delayed response task. Participants then judged whether a probe item was in the memory display or not. Selection history was defined as the number of items attended across trials in the task context within a block, manipulated by the stimulus set-size in the contexts with fewer possible stimuli (4-item or 5-item context) or more possible stimuli (8-item or 9-item context) from which the memorized content was selected. The capacity measure (i.e., the K measure) was estimated to reflect the number of items that can be held in WM. Across four behavioral experiments, the results revealed that the capacity was significantly reduced in the context with more possible stimuli relative to the context with fewer possible stimuli. Moreover, the reduction in capacity was significant for high WM load and not observed when the focus was on only a single item. Together, these findings indicate that context-driven selection history and focused attention influence WM capacity. PMID:27774082
Rossi, Rodolfo; Zammit, Stanley; Button, Katherine S.; Munafò, Marcus R.; Lewis, Glyn; David, Anthony S.
Psychotic Experiences (PEs) during adolescence index increased risk for psychotic disorders and schizophrenia in adult life. Working memory (WM) deficits are a core feature of these disorders. Our objective was to examine the relationship between PEs and WM in a general population sample of young people in a case control study. 4744 individuals of age 17–18 from Bristol and surrounding areas (UK) were analyzed in a cross-sectional study nested within the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort study. The dependent variable was PEs, assessed using the semi-structured Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview (PLIKSi). The independent variable was performance on a computerized numerical n-back working memory task. Signal-Detection Theory indices, including standardized hits rate, false alarms rate, discriminability index (d’) and response bias (c) from 2-Back and 3-Back tasks were calculated. 3576 and 3527 individuals had complete data for 2-Back and 3-Back respectively. Suspected/definite PEs prevalence was 7.9% (N = 374). Strongest evidence of association was seen between PEs and false alarms on the 2-Back, (odds ratio (OR) = 1.17 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.01, 1.35]) and 3-back (OR = 1.35 [1.18, 1.54]) and with c (OR = 1.59 [1.09, 2.34]), and lower d’ (OR = 0.76 [0.65, 0.89]), on the 3-Back. Adjustment for several potential confounders, including general IQ, drug exposure and different psycho-social factors, and subsequent multiple imputation of missing data did not materially alter the results. WM is impaired in young people with PEs in the general population. False alarms, rather than poor accuracy, are more closely related to PEs. Such impairment is consistent with different neuropsychological models of psychosis focusing on signal-to-noise discrimination, probabilistic reasoning and impaired reality monitoring as a basis of psychotic symptoms. PMID:27120349
Souza, Pamela E; Arehart, Kathryn H; Shen, Jing; Anderson, Melinda; Kates, James M
Previous work suggested that individuals with low working memory capacity may be at a disadvantage in adverse listening environments, including situations with background noise or substantial modification of the acoustic signal. This study explored the relationship between patient factors (including working memory capacity) and intelligibility and quality of modified speech for older individuals with sensorineural hearing loss. The modification was created using a combination of hearing aid processing [wide-dynamic range compression (WDRC) and frequency compression (FC)] applied to sentences in multitalker babble. The extent of signal modification was quantified via an envelope fidelity index. We also explored the contribution of components of working memory by including measures of processing speed and executive function. We hypothesized that listeners with low working memory capacity would perform more poorly than those with high working memory capacity across all situations, and would also be differentially affected by high amounts of signal modification. Results showed a significant effect of working memory capacity for speech intelligibility, and an interaction between working memory, amount of hearing loss and signal modification. Signal modification was the major predictor of quality ratings. These data add to the literature on hearing-aid processing and working memory by suggesting that the working memory-intelligibility effects may be related to aggregate signal fidelity, rather than to the specific signal manipulation. They also suggest that for individuals with low working memory capacity, sensorineural loss may be most appropriately addressed with WDRC and/or FC parameters that maintain the fidelity of the signal envelope.
Souza, Pamela E.; Arehart, Kathryn H.; Shen, Jing; Anderson, Melinda; Kates, James M.
Previous work suggested that individuals with low working memory capacity may be at a disadvantage in adverse listening environments, including situations with background noise or substantial modification of the acoustic signal. This study explored the relationship between patient factors (including working memory capacity) and intelligibility and quality of modified speech for older individuals with sensorineural hearing loss. The modification was created using a combination of hearing aid processing [wide-dynamic range compression (WDRC) and frequency compression (FC)] applied to sentences in multitalker babble. The extent of signal modification was quantified via an envelope fidelity index. We also explored the contribution of components of working memory by including measures of processing speed and executive function. We hypothesized that listeners with low working memory capacity would perform more poorly than those with high working memory capacity across all situations, and would also be differentially affected by high amounts of signal modification. Results showed a significant effect of working memory capacity for speech intelligibility, and an interaction between working memory, amount of hearing loss and signal modification. Signal modification was the major predictor of quality ratings. These data add to the literature on hearing-aid processing and working memory by suggesting that the working memory-intelligibility effects may be related to aggregate signal fidelity, rather than to the specific signal manipulation. They also suggest that for individuals with low working memory capacity, sensorineural loss may be most appropriately addressed with WDRC and/or FC parameters that maintain the fidelity of the signal envelope. PMID:25999874
Becerril, Karla; Barch, Deanna
Research on emotional processing in schizophrenia suggests relatively intact subjective responses to affective stimuli “in the moment.” However, neuroimaging evidence suggests diminished activation in brain regions associated with emotional processing in schizophrenia. We asked whether given a more vulnerable cognitive system in schizophrenia, individuals with this disorder would show increased or decreased modulation of working memory (WM) as a function of the emotional content of stimuli compared with healthy control subjects. In addition, we examined whether higher anhedonia levels were associated with a diminished impact of emotion on behavioral and brain activation responses. In the present study, 38 individuals with schizophrenia and 32 healthy individuals completed blocks of a 2-back WM task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning session. Blocks contained faces displaying either only neutral stimuli or neutral and emotional stimuli (happy or fearful faces), randomly intermixed and occurring both as targets and non-targets. Both groups showed higher accuracy but slower reaction time for negative compared to neutral stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia showed intact amygdala activity in response to emotionally evocative stimuli, but demonstrated altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampal activity while performing an emotionally loaded WM-task. Higher levels of social anhedonia were associated with diminished amygdala responses to emotional stimuli and increased DLPFC activity in individuals with schizophrenia. Emotional arousal may challenge dorsal-frontal control systems, which may have both beneficial and detrimental influences. Our findings suggest that disturbances in emotional processing in schizophrenia relate to alterations in emotion-cognition interactions rather than to the perception and subjective experience of emotion per se. PMID:20176860
Becerril, Karla; Barch, Deanna
Research on emotional processing in schizophrenia suggests relatively intact subjective responses to affective stimuli "in the moment." However, neuroimaging evidence suggests diminished activation in brain regions associated with emotional processing in schizophrenia. We asked whether given a more vulnerable cognitive system in schizophrenia, individuals with this disorder would show increased or decreased modulation of working memory (WM) as a function of the emotional content of stimuli compared with healthy control subjects. In addition, we examined whether higher anhedonia levels were associated with a diminished impact of emotion on behavioral and brain activation responses. In the present study, 38 individuals with schizophrenia and 32 healthy individuals completed blocks of a 2-back WM task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning session. Blocks contained faces displaying either only neutral stimuli or neutral and emotional stimuli (happy or fearful faces), randomly intermixed and occurring both as targets and non-targets. Both groups showed higher accuracy but slower reaction time for negative compared to neutral stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia showed intact amygdala activity in response to emotionally evocative stimuli, but demonstrated altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampal activity while performing an emotionally loaded WM-task. Higher levels of social anhedonia were associated with diminished amygdala responses to emotional stimuli and increased DLPFC activity in individuals with schizophrenia. Emotional arousal may challenge dorsal-frontal control systems, which may have both beneficial and detrimental influences. Our findings suggest that disturbances in emotional processing in schizophrenia relate to alterations in emotion-cognition interactions rather than to the perception and subjective experience of emotion per se.
Moisala, M; Salmela, V; Hietajärvi, L; Carlson, S; Vuontela, V; Lonka, K; Hakkarainen, K; Salmela-Aro, K; Alho, K
Gaming experience has been suggested to lead to performance enhancements in a wide variety of working memory tasks. Previous studies have, however, mostly focused on adult expert gamers and have not included measurements of both behavioral performance and brain activity. In the current study, 167 adolescents and young adults (aged 13-24 years) with different amounts of gaming experience performed an n-back working memory task with vowels, with the sensory modality of the vowel stream switching between audition and vision at random intervals. We studied the relationship between self-reported daily gaming activity, working memory (n-back) task performance and related brain activity measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The results revealed that the extent of daily gaming activity was related to enhancements in both performance accuracy and speed during the most demanding (2-back) level of the working memory task. This improved working memory performance was accompanied by enhanced recruitment of a fronto-parietal cortical network, especially the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, during the less demanding (1-back) level of the task, gaming was associated with decreased activity in the same cortical regions. Our results suggest that a greater degree of daily gaming experience is associated with better working memory functioning and task difficulty-dependent modulation in fronto-parietal brain activity already in adolescence and even when non-expert gamers are studied. The direction of causality within this association cannot be inferred with certainty due to the correlational nature of the current study.
Sweet, Lawrence H; Jerskey, Beth A; Aloia, Mark S
Lower working memory performance and altered brain activity have been reported in studies of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. However, little is known about the effect of treatment of OSA on brain function, particularly effects on default network processing. We previously reported increased brain response to a working memory challenge in active regions and decreased response in relatively deactivated a priori regions of interest (ROIs) following withdrawal of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. This follow-up analysis was conducted to examine the effects of CPAP withdrawal on default network processing using empirically defined ROIs analyses (i.e., in ROIs exhibiting significant deactivation in the sample). Ten OSA patients performed a 2-Back working memory task during functional magnetic resonance imaging in two separate conditions, following regular CPAP use, and after two nights of CPAP withdrawal. Eleven clusters of significant 2-Back-related deactivation consistent with the default network were identified and further examined for CPAP withdrawal effects. Significant further deactivation relative to the treatment adherent baseline was observed in the majority of these ROIs during the withdrawal condition. The magnitude of deactivation during withdrawal was significantly associated with better working memory performance in the posterior cingulate and right postcentral gyrus, and greater sleepiness in the left and right medial frontal gyrus. Results suggest that default network functions are further suspended as a result of a shifting of attention towards a more difficult active task in the context of lowered attentional capacity related to sleepiness.
Kałamała, Patrycja; Sadowska, Aleksandra; Ordziniak, Wawrzyniec; Chuderski, Adam
Four experiments investigated whether conforming to Gestalt principles, well known to drive visual perception, also facilitates the active maintenance of information in visual working memory (VWM). We used the change detection task, which required the memorization of visual patterns composed of several shapes. We observed no effects of symmetry of visual patterns on VWM performance. However, there was a moderate positive effect when a particular shape that was probed matched the shape of the whole pattern (the whole-part similarity effect). Data support the models assuming that VWM encodes not only particular objects of the perceptual scene but also the spatial relations between them (the ensemble representation). The ensemble representation may prime objects similar to its shape and thereby boost access to them. In contrast, the null effect of symmetry relates the fact that this very feature of an ensemble does not yield any useful additional information for VWM.
Botto, Marta; Palladino, Paola
This study tested predictions from the time-based resource-sharing (TBRS) model with a classical verbal working memory (WM) task, where target and non-target information interfere strongly with each other. Different predictions can be formulated according to the dominant perspectives (TBRS and interference hypothesis) on the role of inhibitory control in WM task performance. Here, we aimed to trace the activation of irrelevant information, examining priming effects in a lexical decision task immediately following WM recall. Results indicate the roles of both time and interference constraints in determining task performance. In particular, the role of time available seemed crucial at the highest WM loads (i.e., 3 and 4 memoranda). These were also associated with a higher activation of no-longer-relevant information but, in this case, independently from time available for processing.
van Geldorp, Bonnie; Kessels, Roy P. C.; Hendriks, Marc P. H.
In this study, we examined working memory performance of stroke patients. A previous study assessing amnesia patients found deficits on an associative working memory task, although standard neuropsychological working memory tests did not detect any deficits. We now examine whether this may be the case for stoke patients as well. The current task contained three conditions: one spatial condition, one object condition and one binding condition in which both object and location had to be remembered. In addition, subsequent long-term memory was assessed. The results indicate that our sample of stroke patients shows a working memory deficit, but only on the single-feature conditions. The binding condition was more difficult than both single-feature conditions, but patients performed equally well as compared to matched healthy controls. No deficits were found on the subsequent long-term memory task. These results suggest that associative working memory may be mediated by structures of the medial temporal lobe. PMID:22713422
Burnham, Bryan R; Sabia, Matthew; Langan, Catherine
Load theory (Lavie, N., Hirst, A., De Fockert, J. W., & Viding, E. . Load theory of selective attention and cognitive control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 339-354.) proposes that control of attention depends on the amount and type of load that is imposed by current processing. Specifically, perceptual load should lead to efficient distractor rejection, whereas working memory load (dual-task coordination) should hinder distractor rejection. Studies support load theory's prediction that working memory load will lead to larger distractor effects; however, these studies used secondary tasks that required only verbal working memory and the central executive. The present study examined which other working memory components (visual, spatial, and phonological) influence visual selective attention. Subjects completed an attentional capture task alone (single-task) or while engaged in a working memory task (dual-task). Results showed that along with the central executive, visual and spatial working memory influenced selective attention, but phonological working memory did not. Specifically, attentional capture was larger when visual or spatial working memory was loaded, but phonological working memory load did not affect attentional capture. The results are consistent with load theory and suggest specific components of working memory influence visual selective attention.
Wright, Heather Harris; Fergadiotis, Gerasimos
Background General agreement exists in the literature that individuals with aphasia can exhibit a working memory deficit that contributes to their language processing impairments. Though conceptualized within different working memory frameworks, researchers have suggested that individuals with aphasia have limited working memory capacity, impaired attention-control processes as well as impaired inhibitory mechanisms. However, across studies investigating working memory ability in individuals with aphasia, different measures have been used to quantify their working memory ability and identify the relationship between working memory and language performance. Aims The primary objectives of this article are to (1) review current working memory theoretical frameworks, (2) review tasks used to measure working memory, and (3) discuss findings from studies that have investigated working memory as they relate to language processing in aphasia. Main Contribution Though findings have been consistent across studies investigating working memory ability in individuals with aphasia, discussion of how working memory is conceptualized and defined is often missing, as is discussion of results within a theoretical framework. This is critical, as working memory is conceptualized differently across the different theoretical frameworks. They differ in explaining what limits capacity and the source of individual differences as well as how information is encoded, maintained, and retrieved. When test methods are considered within a theoretical framework, specific hypotheses can be tested and stronger conclusions that are less susceptible to different interpretations can be made. Conclusions Working memory ability has been investigated in numerous studies with individuals with aphasia. To better understand the underlying cognitive constructs that contribute to the language deficits exhibited by individuals with aphasia, future investigations should operationally define the cognitive
Ros, Laura; Latorre, José Miguel; Serrano, Juan Pedro
The objectives of this study are to compare the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) performance of two healthy samples of younger and older adults and to analyse the relationship between overgeneral memory (OGM) and working memory executive processes (WMEP) using a structural equation modelling with latent variables. The AMT and sustained attention, short-term memory and working memory tasks were administered to a group of young adults (N = 50) and a group of older adults (N = 46). On the AMT, the older adults recalled a greater number of categorical memories (p = .000) and fewer specific memories (p = .000) than the young adults, confirming that OGM occurs in the normal population and increases with age. WMEP was measured by reading span and a working memory with sustained attention load task. Structural equation modelling reflects that WMEP shows a strong relationship with OGM: lower scores on WMEP reflect an OGM phenomenon characterized by higher categorical and lower specific memories.
Voigt, Babett; Mahy, Caitlin E. V.; Ellis, Judi; Schnitzspahn, Katharina; Krause, Ivonne; Altgassen, Mareike; Kliegel, Matthias
This large-scale study examined the development of time-based prospective memory (PM) across childhood and the roles that working memory updating and time monitoring play in driving age effects in PM performance. One hundred and ninety-seven children aged 5 to 14 years completed a time-based PM task where working memory updating load was…
Helton, William S; Russell, Paul N
In this study, we examined the impact of concurrent verbal and visuospatial working memory demands on performance of a visuospatial successive target detection task. Three hundred and four participants performed a visuospatial vigilance task while simultaneously performing either a spatial or verbal working memory task that either required a memory load during the vigil or did not require a memory load during the vigil. Perceptual sensitivity A' to vigilance target stimuli was reduced by concurrent memory load, both verbal and visuospatial. The decline in perceptual sensitivity to vigilance targets, the vigilance decrement, was steeper for a visuospatial memory task than a verbal memory task, regardless of concurrent memory load. Memory performance after vigilance detection trials was much lower for visuospatial than verbal items, even though memory performance before vigilance detection trials was higher for visuospatial than verbal items. Together, this indicates increased interference when a visuospatial vigilance task is paired with a visuospatial memory task, than when paired with a verbal memory task. Overall, the visuospatial and verbal working memory loads both impacted vigilance target detection, suggesting utilization of common executive resources. There may, however, be domain specific interference, and this may be exacerbated for two visuospatial tasks.
Soutschek, Alexander; Schubert, Torsten
Successful cooperation requires that humans can flexibly adjust choices to their partner's behaviour. This, in turn, presupposes a representation of a partner's past decisions in working memory. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of working memory processes in cooperation. For that purpose, we tested the effects of working memory updating (Experiment 1) and working memory maintenance demands (Experiments 2 and 3) on cooperative behaviour in the Prisoner's dilemma game. We found that demands on updating, but not maintenance, of working memory contents impaired strategy use in the Prisoner's dilemma. Thus, our data show that updating a partner's past behaviour in working memory represents an important precondition for strategy use in cooperation.
Rabbitt, Laura R; Roberts, Daniel M; McDonald, Craig G; Peterson, Matthew S
There is extensive evidence that the contralateral delay activity (CDA), a scalp recorded event-related brain potential, provides a reliable index of the number of objects held in visual working memory. Here we present evidence that the CDA not only indexes visual object working memory, but also the number of locations held in spatial working memory. In addition, we demonstrate that the CDA can be predictably modulated by the type of encoding strategy employed. When individual locations were held in working memory, the pattern of CDA modulation mimicked previous findings for visual object working memory. Specifically, CDA amplitude increased monotonically until working memory capacity was reached. However, when participants were instructed to group individual locations to form a constellation, the CDA was prolonged and reached an asymptote at two locations. This result provides neural evidence for the formation of a unitary representation of multiple spatial locations.
Conlin, J.A.; Gathercole, S.E.; Adams, J.W.
Three experiments investigated the roles of resource-sharing and intrinsic memory demands in complex working memory span performance in 7- and 9-year-olds. In Experiment 1, the processing complexity of arithmetic operations was varied under conditions in which processing times were equivalent. Memory span did not differ as a function of processing…
Barch, Deanna M; Moore, Holly; Nee, Derek E; Manoach, Dara S; Luck, Steven J
The sixth meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) consortium was focused on selecting promising imaging biomarker measures for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of working memory (WM), the 2 constructs of interest were "goal maintenance" and "interference control." CNTRICS received 7 task nominations for goal maintenance and 3 task nominations for interference control. For goal maintenance, the breakout group for WM recommended the AX Continuous Performance Test/Dot Pattern Expectancy (DPX) and the Switching Stroop task for translation and further development for use in clinical trial contexts in schizophrenia research. Notably, these same 2 paradigms were recommended for "rule generation and selection" in executive control, a highly related construct. For interference control, the breakout group recommended the Suppress Task and the Sternberg Item Recognition Paradigm for translation for use in clinical trials. This manuscript describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used by the breakout group to recommend tasks for further development. In addition, the group revisited the construct of WM capacity. Since the initial CNTRICS meeting, a growing body of work has emerged on the neurobiological substrates of WM capacity, making measure of this construct ready for translation. The group suggested a promising imaging biomarker measure for capacity, a version of the change detection task that measures delay activity over posterior parietal and occipital cortex.
Cohen, Henri; Scherzer, Peter; Viau, Robert; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco
Tactile working memory was found to be more developed in completely blind (congenital and acquired) than in semi-sighted subjects, indicating that experience plays a crucial role in shaping working memory. A model of working memory, adapted from the classical model proposed by Baddeley and Hitch1 and Baddeley2 is presented where the connection strengths of a highly cross-modal network are altered through experience.
van Geldorp, Bonnie; Bergmann, Heiko C; Robertson, Johanna; Wester, Arie J; Kessels, Roy P C
Both neuroimaging work and studies investigating amnesic patients have shown involvement of the medial temporal lobe during working memory tasks, especially when multiple items or features have to be associated. However, so far no study has examined the relationship between working memory and subsequent episodic memory in patients using similar tasks. In this study, we compared patients with amnesia due to Korsakoff's syndrome (n=19) with healthy controls (n=18) on an associative working memory task followed by an unexpected subsequent episodic memory task. The computerized working memory task required participants to maintain two pairs of faces and houses for either short (3s) or long (6s) delays. Approximately 5 minutes after completion of the working memory task, an unexpected subsequent recognition task with a two-alternative forced choice paradigm was administered. By directly comparing working memory and subsequent episodic memory, we were able to examine long-term encoding processes that may take place after longer delays. As expected, patients performed at chance level on the episodic memory task. Interestingly, patients also showed significantly impaired working memory performance (p<.01), even at short delays. Longer delays did not result in better subsequent memory, indicating that they do not facilitate long-term encoding processes. Our results are discussed in relation to Baddeley's working memory model as the episodic buffer is assumed to be a short-term store for maintaining bound representations. In light of these results, the long-standing view that working memory and long-term memory are strictly dissociated may need to be revisited.
Linden, David E J
Working memory and short-term memory are closely related in their cognitive architecture, capacity limitations, and functional neuroanatomy, which only partly overlap with those of long-term memory. The author reviews the functional neuroimaging literature on the commonalities and differences between working memory and short-term memory and the interplay of areas with modality-specific and supramodal representations in the brain networks supporting these fundamental cognitive processes. Sensory stores in the visual, auditory, and somatosensory cortex play a role in short-term memory, but supramodal parietal and frontal areas are often recruited as well. Classical working memory operations such as manipulation, protection against interference, or updating almost certainly require at least some degree of prefrontal support, but many pure maintenance tasks involve these areas as well. Although it seems that activity shifts from more posterior regions during encoding to more anterior regions during delay, some studies reported sustained delay activity in sensory areas as well. This spatiotemporal complexity of the short-term memory/working memory networks is mirrored in the activation patterns that may explain capacity constraints, which, although most prominent in the parietal cortex, seem to be pervasive across sensory and premotor areas. Finally, the author highlights open questions for cognitive neuroscience research of working memory, such as that of the mechanisms for integrating different types of content (binding) or those providing the link to long-term memory.
Listeners use lipread information to adjust the phonetic boundary between two speech categories (phonetic recalibration, Bertelson et al. 2003). Here, we examined phonetic recalibration while listeners were engaged in a visuospatial or verbal memory working memory task under different memory load conditions. Phonetic recalibration was—like selective speech adaptation—not affected by a concurrent verbal or visuospatial memory task. This result indicates that phonetic recalibration is a low-level process not critically depending on processes used in verbal- or visuospatial working memory. PMID:20437168
Ashcraft, M H; Kirk, E P
Individuals with high math anxiety demonstrated smaller working memory spans, especially when assessed with a computation-based span task. This reduced working memory capacity led to a pronounced increase in reaction time and errors when mental addition was performed concurrently with a memory load task. The effects of the reduction also generalized to a working memory-intensive transformation task. Overall, the results demonstrated that an individual difference variable, math anxiety, affects on-line performance in math-related tasks and that this effect is a transitory disruption of working memory. The authors consider a possible mechanism underlying this effect--disruption of central executive processes--and suggest that individual difference variables like math anxiety deserve greater empirical attention, especially on assessments of working memory capacity and functioning.
Andiel, C; Liu, L
Atkinson and Shiffrin's (1968) modal model of memory is still commonly used by rehabilitation professionals to evaluate memory impairment in older adults. However, research to date has been unable to indicate that short-term memory declines with age. These findings have led some rehabilitation professionals to mistakenly conclude that short-term memory is not affected by the aging process. This article reviews both the traditional concept of short-term memory, as outlined by Atkinson and Shiffrin, and the more recent conceptualization of short-term memory in terms of Baddeley and Hitch's (1974) model of working memory. The implications of the concept of working memory has implications for occupational therapy interventions for older adults. For example, clients with dementia may experience difficulties in performing tasks that require drawing inferences. Similarly, language that contains vague references may present problems for these clients. In addition, changes in working memory in older adults suggest that they may experience difficulties with medication management and what Rule, Milke, and Dobbs (1992) called wayfinding. Therefore, evaluations of working memory would provide a better indication of older adults' memory performance than the modal model.
Lepach, Anja C; Pauls, Franz; Petermann, Franz
The matter of modality is controversially discussed in the context of working memory (WM). There is evidence that modality-specific processes are accompanied by amodal processes to some extent. We investigated the relationship between executive-functioning tasks and visual WM (VWM) and were especially interested in the issue of amodal processes. Our correlational analyses suggest modality-independent relations of the tasks. We also aimed to quantify to what extent executive functioning is meaningful for VWM performances. We therefore estimated the relationship between executive tasks and VWM performances in a healthy (n = 710) and a clinical traumatic brain injury sample (n = 151) as well as in the combined total sample. The results indicate a substantial relevance of the verbal task for VWM performances in the total and the clinical sample but a low relevance in the healthy sample. These results could support assumptions of resource-depending differences in the relations of executive functioning and VWM but need further validation due to limitations of our study.
Simmering, Vanessa R.; Perone, Sammy
A well-known characteristic of working memory (WM) is its limited capacity. The source of such limitations, however, is a continued point of debate. Developmental research is positioned to address this debate by jointly identifying the source(s) of limitations and the mechanism(s) underlying capacity increases. Here we provide a cross-domain survey of studies and theories of WM capacity development, which reveals a complex picture: dozens of studies from 50 papers show nearly universal increases in capacity estimates with age, but marked variation across studies, tasks, and domains. We argue that the full pattern of performance cannot be captured through traditional approaches emphasizing single causes, or even multiple separable causes, underlying capacity development. Rather, we consider WM capacity as a dynamic process that emerges from a unified cognitive system flexibly adapting to the context and demands of each task. We conclude by enumerating specific challenges for researchers and theorists that will need to be met in order to move our understanding forward. PMID:23335902
Gutiérrez-Clellen, Vera F; Calderón, Janet; Ellis Weismer, Susan
The present study compared the performance of 44 Latino children on the Competing Language Processing Task (CLPT; C. Gaulin and T. Campbell, 1994) and the Dual Processing Comprehension Task (DPCT; S. Ellis Weismer, 1996). First, it was of interest to know if there were significant differences between children with and without bilingual proficiency on processing tasks that were assumed to require limited vocabulary knowledge. The second goal of this research was to determine whether there were cross-linguistic differences in verbal working memory by examining performance within bilinguals and between children with limited proficiency in a second language. The performance of the participating children was also examined in the context of research with other English-speaking groups. Finally, given that the CLPT and the DPCT may differ in their processing demands (from a relative focus on storage to one of attention inhibition or resistance to interference), it was important to know the extent to which these tasks were related or involved similar cognitive-linguistic operations. Results revealed shared processing skills as well as differences related to individual attainments in bilingual acquisition.
Subiaul, Francys; Schilder, Brian
Does working memory (WM) constrain the amount and type of information children copy from a model? To answer this question, preschool-age children (N=165) were trained and then tested on a touch-screen task that involved touching simultaneously presented pictures. Prior to responding, children saw a model generate two target responses: Order (touching all of the pictures on the screen in a target sequence three consecutive times) and Multi-Tap (consistently touching one of the pictures two times). Children's accuracy copying Order and Multi-Tap was assessed on two types of sequences: low WM load (2 pictures) and high WM load (3 pictures). Results showed that more children copied both Order and Multi-Tap on 2-picture sequences than on 3-picture sequences. Children who copied only one of the two target responses tended to copy only Order on 2-picture sequences but only Multi-Tap on 3-picture sequences. Instructions to either copy or ignore the Multi-Tap response did not affect this overall pattern of results. In sum, results are consistent with the hypothesis that WM constrains not just the amount but also the type of information children copy from models, potentially modulating whether children imitate or emulate in a given task.
Trezise, Kelly; Reeve, Robert A
Math anxiety (MA)-working memory (WM) relationships have typically been examined in the context of arithmetic problem solving, and little research has examined the relationship in other math domains (e.g., algebra). Moreover, researchers have tended to examine MA/worry separate from math problem solving activities and have used general WM tasks rather than domain-relevant WM measures. Furthermore, it seems to have been assumed that MA affects all areas of math. It is possible, however, that MA is restricted to particular math domains. To examine these issues, the current research assessed claims about the impact on algebraic problem solving of differences in WM and algebraic worry. A sample of 80 14-year-old female students completed algebraic worry, algebraic WM, algebraic problem solving, nonverbal IQ, and general math ability tasks. Latent profile analysis of worry and WM measures identified four performance profiles (subgroups) that differed in worry level and WM capacity. Consistent with expectations, subgroup membership was associated with algebraic problem solving performance: high WM/low worry>moderate WM/low worry=moderate WM/high worry>low WM/high worry. Findings are discussed in terms of the conceptual relationship between emotion and cognition in mathematics and implications for the MA-WM-performance relationship.
Zhang, Yu-Xuan; Moore, David R.; Guiraud, Jeanne; Molloy, Katharine; Yan, Ting-Ting; Amitay, Sygal
Perceptual training is generally assumed to improve perception by modifying the encoding or decoding of sensory information. However, this assumption is incompatible with recent demonstrations that transfer of learning can be enhanced by across-trial variation of training stimuli or task. Here we present three lines of evidence from healthy adults in support of the idea that the enhanced transfer of auditory discrimination learning is mediated by working memory (WM). First, the ability to discriminate small differences in tone frequency or duration was correlated with WM measured with a tone n-back task. Second, training frequency discrimination around a variable frequency transferred to and from WM learning, but training around a fixed frequency did not. The transfer of learning in both directions was correlated with a reduction of the influence of stimulus variation in the discrimination task, linking WM and its improvement to across-trial stimulus interaction in auditory discrimination. Third, while WM training transferred broadly to other WM and auditory discrimination tasks, variable-frequency training on duration discrimination did not improve WM, indicating that stimulus variation challenges and trains WM only if the task demands stimulus updating in the varied dimension. The results provide empirical evidence as well as a theoretic framework for interactions between cognitive and sensory plasticity during perceptual experience. PMID:26799068
Frtusova, Jana B.; Phillips, Natalie A.
This study examined the effect of auditory-visual (AV) speech stimuli on working memory in older adults with poorer-hearing (PH) in comparison to age- and education-matched older adults with better hearing (BH). Participants completed a working memory n-back task (0- to 2-back) in which sequences of digits were presented in visual-only (i.e., speech-reading), auditory-only (A-only), and AV conditions. Auditory event-related potentials (ERP) were collected to assess the relationship between perceptual and working memory processing. The behavioral results showed that both groups were faster in the AV condition in comparison to the unisensory conditions. The ERP data showed perceptual facilitation in the AV condition, in the form of reduced amplitudes and latencies of the auditory N1 and/or P1 components, in the PH group. Furthermore, a working memory ERP component, the P3, peaked earlier for both groups in the AV condition compared to the A-only condition. In general, the PH group showed a more robust AV benefit; however, the BH group showed a dose-response relationship between perceptual facilitation and working memory improvement, especially for facilitation of processing speed. Two measures, reaction time and P3 amplitude, suggested that the presence of visual speech cues may have helped the PH group to counteract the demanding auditory processing, to the level that no group differences were evident during the AV modality despite lower performance during the A-only condition. Overall, this study provides support for the theory of an integrated perceptual-cognitive system. The practical significance of these findings is also discussed. PMID:27148106
Blankenship, Tashauna L.; O’Neill, Meagan; Ross, Alleyne; Bell, Martha Ann
The contributions of working memory and recollection to academic achievement are typically examined separately and most often with children who have learning difficulties. This study is the first to observe both types of memory in the same study and in typically developing children. Academic achievement focused on standardized assessments of math fluency, calculation, reading fluency, and passage comprehension. As noted in previous studies, working memory was associated with each assessed measure of academic achievement. Recollection, however, specifically contributed to math fluency and passage comprehension. Thus, recollection should be considered alongside working memory in studies of academic achievement. PMID:26644761
Schuler, Anne; Scheiter, Katharina; van Genuchten, Erlijn
A lot of research has focused on the beneficial effects of using multimedia, that is, text and pictures, for learning. Theories of multimedia learning are based on Baddeley's working memory model (Baddeley 1999). Despite this theoretical foundation, there is only little research that aims at empirically testing whether and more importantly how…
Biedron, Adriana; Szczepaniak, Anna
The role of short-term memory and working memory in accomplished multilinguals was investigated. Twenty-eight accomplished multilinguals were compared to 36 mainstream philology students. The following instruments were used in the study: three memory subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (Digit Span, Digit-Symbol Coding, and Arithmetic,…
Saliasi, Emi; Geerligs, Linda; Lorist, Monicque M.; Maurits, Natasha M.
To investigate which neural correlates are associated with successful working memory performance, fMRI was recorded in healthy younger and older adults during performance on an n-back task with varying task demands. To identify functional networks supporting working memory processes, we used independent component analysis (ICA) decomposition of the fMRI data. Compared to younger adults, older adults showed a larger neural (BOLD) response in the more complex (2-back) than in the baseline (0-back) task condition, in the ventral lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and in the right fronto-parietal network (FPN). Our results indicated that a higher BOLD response in the VLPFC was associated with increased performance accuracy in older adults, in both the baseline and the more complex task condition. This ‘BOLD-performance’ relationship suggests that the neural correlates linked with successful performance in the older adults are not uniquely related to specific working memory processes present in the complex but not in the baseline task condition. Furthermore, the selective presence of this relationship in older but not in younger adults suggests that increased neural activity in the VLPFC serves a compensatory role in the aging brain which benefits task performance in the elderly. PMID:24911016
Gonzales, Mitzi M.; Tarumi, Takashi; Tanaka, Hirofumi; Sugawara, Jun; Swann-Sternberg, Tali; Goudarzi, Katyoon; Haley, Andreana P.
The current study examined the relationship between a prognostic indicator of vascular health, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and working memory-related brain activation in healthy middle-aged adults. Forty-two participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a 2-Back working memory task. Brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was assessed using B-mode ultrasound. The relationship between FMD and task-related brain activation in a priori regions of interest was modeled using hierarchical linear regression. Brachial FMD, was significantly related to reduced working memory-related activation in the right superior parietal lobule (β=0.338, p=0.027), independent of age, sex, systolic blood pressure, and full scale IQ (F(5,36)=2.66, p=0.038). These data provide preliminary support for the association between a preclinical marker of endothelial dysfunction and cerebral hemodynamic alterations in healthy middle-aged adults. Considering the modifiable nature of endothelial function, additional investigations on the prognostic significance of FMD on future cognitive impairment are warranted. PMID:20493622
Packiam Alloway, Tracy; Banner, Gloria E.; Smith, Patrick
Background: Working memory, the ability to store and process information, is strongly related to learning outcomes. Aims: The aim of the present study is to extend previous research on early learning and investigate the relationship between working memory, cognitive styles, and attainment in adolescents using both national curriculum tests and…
Beauchamp, Miriam H.; Thompson, Deanne K.; Howard, Kelly; Doyle, Lex W.; Egan, Gary F.; Inder, Terrie E.; Anderson, Peter J.
Children born preterm exhibit working memory deficits. These deficits may be associated with structural brain changes observed in the neonatal period. In this study, the relationship between neonatal regional brain volumes and working memory deficits at age 2 years were investigated, with a particular interest in the dorsolateral prefrontal…
Kim, Ji Hyon; Christianson, Kiel
Two self-paced reading experiments using a paraphrase decision task paradigm were performed to investigate how sentence complexity contributed to the relative clause (RC) attachment preferences of speakers of different working memory capacities (WMCs). Experiment 1 (English) showed working memory effects on relative clause processing in both…
Crawford, L. Elizabeth; Landy, David; Salthouse, Timothy A.
Spatial memory research has attributed systematic bias in location estimates to a combination of a noisy memory trace with a prior structure that people impose on the space. Little is known about intraindividual stability and interindividual variation in these patterns of bias. In the current work, we align recent empirical and theoretical work on…
Martinussen, Rhonda; Major, Ashley
Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk for academic underachievement. Children and youth with ADHD have been found to exhibit impairments on neuropsychological measures of executive functions, including working memory. Working memory is important to attentional control and learning. This article defines working…
Beigneux, Katia; Plaie, Thierry; Isingrini, Michel
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of aging on the storage of visual and spatial working memory according to Logie's model of working memory (1995). In a first experiment young, elderly, and very old subjects carried out two tasks usually used to measure visual span (Visual Patterns Test) and spatial span (Corsi Block Tapping test).…
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Yang, Lee-Xieng; Newell, Ben R.; Kalish, Michael L.
Working memory is crucial for many higher level cognitive functions, ranging from mental arithmetic to reasoning and problem solving. Likewise, the ability to learn and categorize novel concepts forms an indispensable part of human cognition. However, very little is known about the relationship between working memory and categorization. This…
Ravizza, Susan M.; Mccormick, Cristin A.; Schlerf, John E.; Justus, Timothy; Ivry, Richard B.; Fiez, Julie A.
The cerebellum is often active in imaging studies of verbal working memory, consistent with a putative role in articulatory rehearsal. While patients with cerebellar damage occasionally exhibit a mild impairment on standard neuropsychological tests of working memory, these tests are not diagnostic for exploring these processes in detail. The…
Demetriou, Andreas; Christou, Constantinos; Spanoudis, George; Platsidou, Maria
Examined, over 1 year, relations between information processing efficiency, working memory, and problem solving in sample of 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-year-olds. Identified three-stratus hierarchy with individual dimensions organized in three constructs: processing efficiency, working memory, and problem solving. Found that individual dimensions were…
Henry, L.; Winfield, J.
Background: There is little previous research examining whether measures of working memory are related to educational achievement in children with intellectual disabilities (ID). Methods: A battery of working memory and achievement measures was administered to 11- to 12-year-old children with ID; younger typically developing children of comparable…
Schweizer, Karl; Moosbrugger, Helfried
The paper reports on an investigation of attention and working memory as sources of intelligence. The investigation was concentrated on the relatedness of attention and working memory as predictors of intelligence and on the structure underlying the prediction. In a sample of 120 participants, intelligence was assessed by the Advanced Progressive…
McGettigan, Carolyn; Warren, Jane E.; Eisner, Frank; Marshall, Chloe R.; Shanmugalingam, Pradheep; Scott, Sophie K.
This study investigated links between working memory and speech processing systems. We used delayed pseudoword repetition in fMRI to investigate the neural correlates of sublexical structure in phonological working memory (pWM). We orthogonally varied the number of syllables and consonant clusters in auditory pseudowords and measured the neural…
Working memory is the retention of a small amount of information in a readily accessible form. It facilitates planning, comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving. I examine the historical roots and conceptual development of the concept and the theoretical and practical implications of current debates about working memory mechanisms. Then, I…
Smith, Alexander; Ayres, Paul
The study reviewed the evidence that persistent pain has the capacity to interrupt and consume working memory resources. It was argued that individuals with persistent pain essentially operate within a compromised neurocognitive paradigm of limited working memory resources that impairs task performance. Using cognitive load theory as a theoretical…
Engel de Abreu, Pascale M. J.; Conway, Andrew R. A.; Gathercole, Susan E.
The present study investigates how working memory and fluid intelligence are related in young children and how these links develop over time. The major aim is to determine which aspect of the working memory system--short-term storage or cognitive control--drives the relationship with fluid intelligence. A sample of 119 children was followed from…
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth
Working memory skills have been shown to be enhanced by adaptive training in several randomised controlled trials. Here, two field trials were conducted in which teachers administered working memory training to their own pupils in school. Twenty-two children aged 8-9?years participated in Trial 1. In Trial 2, 50 children aged 9-11?years with the…
Mammarella, Irene C.; Pazzaglia, Francesca; Cornoldi, Cesare
There are a large number of studies demonstrating that visuospatial working memory (VSWM) involves different subcomponents, but there is no agreement on the identity of these dimensions. The present study attempts to combine different theoretical accounts by measuring VSWM. A battery composed of 13 tests was used to assess working memory and, in…
Barrouillet, Pierre; Portrat, Sophie; Camos, Valerie
"Working memory" is usually defined in cognitive psychology as a system devoted to the simultaneous processing and maintenance of information. However, although many models of working memory have been put forward during the last decades, they often leave underspecified the dynamic interplay between processing and storage. Moreover, the account of…
Hernandez, Mireia; Costa, Albert; Humphreys, Glyn W.
We ask whether bilingualism aids cognitive control over the inadvertent guidance of visual attention from working memory and from bottom-up cueing. We compare highly-proficient Catalan-Spanish bilinguals with Spanish monolinguals in three visual search conditions. In the working memory (WM) condition, attention was driven in a top-down fashion by…
UNCLASSIFIED Defense Technical Information Center Compilation Part Notice ADP010568 TITLE: Working Memory, Age, Crew Downsizing , System Design and...comprise the compilation report: ADP010557 thru ADP010582 UNCLASSIFIED 15-1 Working Memory, Age, Crew Downsizing , System Design and Training Dr Malcolm J
Working memory is crucial for many higher-level cognitive functions, ranging from mental arithmetic to reasoning and problem solving. Likewise, the ability to learn and categorize novel concepts forms an indispensable part of human cognition. However, very little is known about the relationship between working memory and categorization, and…
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 5-year-olds performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on two rules and four rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands…
Schweppe, Judith; Rummer, Ralf
Cognitive models of multimedia learning such as the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer 2009) or the Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller 1999) are based on different cognitive models of working memory (e.g., Baddeley 1986) and long-term memory. The current paper describes a working memory model that has recently gained popularity in basic…
Zach, Sima; Shalom, Eyal
The effect of three types of physical activity on two types of working memory were investigated. Participants were 20 adult males who trained twice a week in volleyball two hours per session. Procedures included two pre and post intervention tests of working memory: the Digit span and Visual Memory Span subtests of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised. Interventions included tactical volleyball formation, body-weight resistance exercises, 15 minutes of running, and sub-maximal aerobic activity. Volleyball activity improved memory performance to a greater extent than the other two activities. Results indicate that immediately after acute exercise there is an increase in working memory function, more evident after physical activity in which cognitive functioning is inherent.
Passolunghi, Maria Chiara; Costa, Hiwet Mariam
Many factors influence children's performance in mathematical achievement, including both domain-specific and domain-general factors. This study aimed to verify and compare the effects of two types of training on early numerical skills. One type of training focused on the enhancement of working memory, a domain-general precursor, while the other focused on the enhancement of early numeracy, a domain-specific precursor. The participants were 48 five-year-old preschool children. Both the working memory and early numeracy training programs were implemented for 5 weeks. The results showed that the early numeracy intervention specifically improved early numeracy abilities in preschool children, whereas working memory intervention improved not only working memory abilities but also early numeracy abilities. These findings stress the importance of performing activities designed to train working memory abilities, in addition to activities aimed to enhance more specific skills, in the early prevention of learning difficulties during preschool years.
Spellman, Timothy; Rigotti, Mattia; Ahmari, Susanne E; Fusi, Stefano; Gogos, Joseph A; Gordon, Joshua A
Spatial working memory, the caching of behaviourally relevant spatial cues on a timescale of seconds, is a fundamental constituent of cognition. Although the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are known to contribute jointly to successful spatial working memory, the anatomical pathway and temporal window for the interaction of these structures critical to spatial working memory has not yet been established. Here we find that direct hippocampal-prefrontal afferents are critical for encoding, but not for maintenance or retrieval, of spatial cues in mice. These cues are represented by the activity of individual prefrontal units in a manner that is dependent on hippocampal input only during the cue-encoding phase of a spatial working memory task. Successful encoding of these cues appears to be mediated by gamma-frequency synchrony between the two structures. These findings indicate a critical role for the direct hippocampal-prefrontal afferent pathway in the continuous updating of task-related spatial information during spatial working memory.
Kiyonaga, Anastasia; Egner, Tobias
Directing visual attention toward a particular feature or location in the environment suppresses processing of nearby stimuli [1-4]. Echoing the center-surround organization of retinal ganglion cell receptive fields , and biasing of competitive local neuronal dynamics in favor of task-relevant stimuli , this "inhibitory surround" attention mechanism accentuates the demarcation between task-relevant and irrelevant items. Here, we show that internally maintaining a color stimulus in working memory (WM), rather than visually attending the stimulus in the external environment, produces an analogous pattern of inhibition for stimuli that are nearby in color space. Replicating a well-known effect of attentional capture by stimuli that match WM content , visual attention was biased toward (task-irrelevant) stimuli that exactly matched a WM item. This bias was curtailed, however, for stimuli that were very similar to the WM content (i.e., within the inhibitory zone surrounding the focus of WM) and recovered for less similar stimuli (i.e., beyond the bounds of the inhibitory surround). Moreover, the expression of this inhibition effect was positively associated with WM performance across observers. In a second experiment, inhibition also occurred between two similar items simultaneously held in WM. This suggests that maintenance in WM is characterized by an excitatory peak centered on the focus of (internal) attention, surrounded by an inhibitory zone to limit interference by irrelevant and confusable representations. Here, thus, we show for the first time that the same center-surround selection mechanism that focuses visual attention on sensory stimuli also selectively maintains internally activated representations in WM.
Colizzi, Marco; Fazio, Leonardo; Ferranti, Laura; Porcelli, Annamaria; Masellis, Rita; Marvulli, Daniela; Bonvino, Aurora; Ursini, Gianluca; Blasi, Giuseppe; Bertolino, Alessandro
Cannabinoid signaling is involved in different brain functions and it is mediated by the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1), which is encoded by the CNR1 gene. Previous evidence suggests an association between cognition and cannabis use. The logical interaction between genetically determined cannabinoid signaling and cannabis use has not been determined. Therefore, we investigated whether CNR1 variation predicts CNR1 prefrontal mRNA expression in postmortem prefrontal human tissue. Then, we studied whether functional variation in CNR1 and cannabis exposure interact in modulating prefrontal function and related behavior during working memory processing. Thus, 208 healthy subjects (113 males) were genotyped for the relevant functional SNP and were evaluated for cannabis use by the Cannabis Experience Questionnaire. All individuals performed the 2-back working memory task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. CNR1 rs1406977 was associated with prefrontal mRNA and individuals carrying a G allele had reduced CNR1 prefrontal mRNA levels compared with AA subjects. Moreover, functional connectivity MRI demonstrated that G carriers who were also cannabis users had greater functional connectivity in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and reduced working memory behavioral accuracy during the 2-back task compared with the other groups. Overall, our results indicate that the deleterious effects of cannabis use are more evident on a specific genetic background related to its receptor expression. PMID:25139064
Nees, Michael A.
Researchers have shown increased interest in mechanisms of working memory for nonverbal sounds such as music and environmental sounds. These studies often have used two-stimulus comparison tasks: two sounds separated by a brief retention interval (often 3–5 s) are compared, and a “same” or “different” judgment is recorded. Researchers seem to have assumed that sensory memory has a negligible impact on performance in auditory two-stimulus comparison tasks. This assumption is examined in detail in this comment. According to seminal texts and recent research reports, sensory memory persists in parallel with working memory for a period of time following hearing a stimulus and can influence behavioral responses on memory tasks. Unlike verbal working memory studies that use serial recall tasks, research paradigms for exploring nonverbal working memory—especially two-stimulus comparison tasks—may not be differentiating working memory from sensory memory processes in analyses of behavioral responses, because retention interval durations have not excluded the possibility that the sensory memory trace drives task performance. This conflation of different constructs may be one contributor to discrepant research findings and the resulting proliferation of theoretical conjectures regarding mechanisms of working memory for nonverbal sounds. PMID:27994565
Pauls, Franz; Petermann, Franz; Lepach, Anja Christina
Analysing the relationship between gender and memory, and examining the effects of age on the overall memory-related functioning, are the ongoing goals of psychological research. The present study examined gender and age group differences in episodic memory with respect to the type of task. In addition, these subgroup differences were also analysed in visual working memory. A sample of 366 women and 330 men, aged between 16 and 69 years of age, participated in the current study. Results indicate that women outperformed men on auditory memory tasks, whereas male adolescents and older male adults showed higher level performances on visual episodic and visual working memory measures. However, the size of gender-linked effects varied somewhat across age groups. Furthermore, results partly support a declining performance on episodic memory and visual working memory measures with increasing age. Although age-related losses in episodic memory could not be explained by a decreasing verbal and visuospatial ability with age, women's advantage in auditory episodic memory could be explained by their advantage in verbal ability. Men's higher level visual episodic memory performance was found to result from their advantage in visuospatial ability. Finally, possible methodological, biological, and cognitive explanations for the current findings are discussed.
Salisbury, Dean F
N400 is an event-related brain potential that indexes operations in semantic memory conceptual space, whether elicited by language or some other representation (e.g., drawings). Language models typically propose three stages: lexical access or orthographic- and phonological-level analysis; lexical selection or word-level meaning and associate activation; and lexical integration, sentence- and discourse-level operations. The exact stage that N400 reflects is unknown, although opinion favors lexical integration over lexical selection. Surprisingly, little research has assessed relationships between neuropsychological measures of semantic memory fund of information or verbal working memory capacity and N400. Subjects performed a homograph disambiguation comprehension task with minimal working memory load. Short sentences read: The noun was adjective/verb. The nouns were either homographs or unambiguous. The adjective/verb was disambiguating for the homograph, and congruent or incongruent for the unambiguous noun. The primary noun of interest was the subordinate homograph. Comprehension of the subordinate meaning should correlate with semantic memory stores, reflecting greater knowledge. If N400 primarily reflects lexical access operations, it should also correlate with measures of semantic knowledge. If N400 reflects lexical integration, it should correlate with measures of working memory capacity. Comprehension errors were associated with semantic memory stores, but not working memory capacity. N400 was related to working memory capacity, but not semantic knowledge, suggesting that N400 primarily reflects late-stage working memory operations. N400 to subordinate disambiguating words was larger with greater working memory capacity, and thus may index the absolute capacity of working memory rather than difficulty in contextual integration.
Pehlivanoglu, Didem; Jain, Shivangi; Ariel, Robert; Verhaeghen, Paul
In the present study, we investigated age-related differences in the processing of emotional stimuli. Specifically, we were interested in whether older adults would show deficits in unbinding emotional expression (i.e., either no emotion, happiness, anger, or disgust) from bound stimuli (i.e., photographs of faces expressing these emotions), as a hyper-binding account of age-related differences in working memory would predict. Younger and older adults completed different N-Back tasks (side-by-side 0-Back, 1-Back, 2-Back) under three conditions: match/mismatch judgments based on either the identity of the face (identity condition), the face’s emotional expression (expression condition), or both identity and expression of the face (both condition). The two age groups performed more slowly and with lower accuracy in the expression condition than in the both condition, indicating the presence of an unbinding process. This unbinding effect was more pronounced in older adults than in younger adults, but only in the 2-Back task. Thus, older adults seemed to have a specific deficit in unbinding in working memory. Additionally, no age-related differences were found in accuracy in the 0-Back task, but such differences emerged in the 1-Back task, and were further magnified in the 2-Back task, indicating independent age-related differences in attention/STM and working memory. Pupil dilation data confirmed that the attention/STM version of the task (1-Back) is more effortful for older adults than younger adults. PMID:24795660
Mandalis, Anna; Kinsella, Glynda; Ong, Ben; Anderson, Vicki
Working memory (WM), the ability to monitor, process and maintain task relevant information on-line to respond to immediate environmental demands, is controlled by frontal systems (D'Esposito et al., 2006), which are particularly vulnerable to damage from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study employed the adult-based Working Memory model of Baddeley and Hitch (1974) to examine the relationship between working memory function and new verbal learning in children with TBI. A cross-sectional sample of 36 school-aged children with a moderate to severe TBI was compared to age-matched healthy Controls on a series of tasks assessing working memory subsystems: the Phonological Loop (PL) and Central Executive (CE). The TBI group performed significantly more poorly than Controls on the PL measure and the majority of CE tasks. On new learning tasks, the TBI group consistently produced fewer words than Controls across the learning and delayed recall phases. Results revealed impaired PL function related to poor encoding and acquisition on a new verbal learning task in the TBI group. CE retrieval deficits in the TBI group contributed to general memory dysfunction in acquisition, retrieval and recognition memory. These results suggest that the nature of learning and memory deficits in children with TBI is related to working memory impairment.
Uncapher, Melina R; K Thieu, Monica; Wagner, Anthony D
Increasing access to media in the 21st century has led to a rapid rise in the prevalence of media multitasking (simultaneous use of multiple media streams). Such behavior is associated with various cognitive differences, such as difficulty filtering distracting information and increased trait impulsivity. Given the rise in media multitasking by children, adolescents, and adults, a full understanding of the cognitive profile of media multitaskers is imperative. Here we investigated the relationship between chronic media multitasking and working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM) performance. Four key findings are reported (1) heavy media multitaskers (HMMs) exhibited lower WM performance, regardless of whether external distraction was present or absent; (2) lower performance on multiple WM tasks predicted lower LTM performance; (3) media multitasking-related differences in memory reflected differences in discriminability rather than decision bias; and (4) attentional impulsivity correlated with media multitasking behavior and reduced WM performance. These findings suggest that chronic media multitasking is associated with a wider attentional scope/higher attentional impulsivity, which may allow goal-irrelevant information to compete with goal-relevant information. As a consequence, heavy media multitaskers are able to hold fewer or less precise goal-relevant representations in WM. HMMs' wider attentional scope, combined with their diminished WM performance, propagates forward to yield lower LTM performance. As such, chronic media multitasking is associated with a reduced ability to draw on the past--be it very recent or more remote--to inform present behavior.
Purcell, Jeremy; Hillis, Argye E.; Capasso, Rita; Miceli, Gabriele
Spelling a word involves the retrieval of information about the word’s letters and their order from long-term memory as well as the maintenance and processing of this information by working memory in preparation for serial production by the motor system. While it is known that brain lesions may selectively affect orthographic long-term memory and working memory processes, relatively little is known about the neurotopographic distribution of the substrates that support these cognitive processes, or the lesions that give rise to the distinct forms of dysgraphia that affect these cognitive processes. To examine these issues, this study uses a voxel-based mapping approach to analyse the lesion distribution of 27 individuals with dysgraphia subsequent to stroke, who were identified on the basis of their behavioural profiles alone, as suffering from deficits only affecting either orthographic long-term or working memory, as well as six other individuals with deficits affecting both sets of processes. The findings provide, for the first time, clear evidence of substrates that selectively support orthographic long-term and working memory processes, with orthographic long-term memory deficits centred in either the left posterior inferior frontal region or left ventral temporal cortex, and orthographic working memory deficits primarily arising from lesions of the left parietal cortex centred on the intraparietal sulcus. These findings also contribute to our understanding of the relationship between the neural instantiation of written language processes and spoken language, working memory and other cognitive skills. PMID:26685156
Rapp, Brenda; Purcell, Jeremy; Hillis, Argye E; Capasso, Rita; Miceli, Gabriele
Spelling a word involves the retrieval of information about the word's letters and their order from long-term memory as well as the maintenance and processing of this information by working memory in preparation for serial production by the motor system. While it is known that brain lesions may selectively affect orthographic long-term memory and working memory processes, relatively little is known about the neurotopographic distribution of the substrates that support these cognitive processes, or the lesions that give rise to the distinct forms of dysgraphia that affect these cognitive processes. To examine these issues, this study uses a voxel-based mapping approach to analyse the lesion distribution of 27 individuals with dysgraphia subsequent to stroke, who were identified on the basis of their behavioural profiles alone, as suffering from deficits only affecting either orthographic long-term or working memory, as well as six other individuals with deficits affecting both sets of processes. The findings provide, for the first time, clear evidence of substrates that selectively support orthographic long-term and working memory processes, with orthographic long-term memory deficits centred in either the left posterior inferior frontal region or left ventral temporal cortex, and orthographic working memory deficits primarily arising from lesions of the left parietal cortex centred on the intraparietal sulcus. These findings also contribute to our understanding of the relationship between the neural instantiation of written language processes and spoken language, working memory and other cognitive skills.
Shi, Zhan; Liu, Peiru
Sixty-one high-math-anxious persons and sixty-one low-math-anxious persons completed a modified working memory capacity task, designed to measure working memory capacity under a dysfunctional math-related context and working memory capacity under a valence-neutral context. Participants were required to perform simple tasks with emotionally benign material (i.e., lists of letters) over short intervals while simultaneously reading and making judgments about sentences describing dysfunctional math-related thoughts or sentences describing emotionally-neutral facts about the world. Working memory capacity for letters under the dysfunctional math-related context, relative to working memory capacity performance under the valence-neutral context, was poorer overall in the high-math-anxious group compared with the low-math-anxious group. The findings show a particular difficulty employing working memory in math-related contexts in high-math-anxious participants. Theories that can provide reasonable interpretations for these findings and interventions that can reduce anxiety-induced worrying intrusive thoughts or improve working memory capacity for math anxiety are discussed.
Beanland, Vanessa; Chan, Esther Hiu Chung
Inattentional blindness, whereby observers fail to detect unexpected stimuli, has been robustly demonstrated in a range of situations. Originally research focused primarily on how stimulus characteristics and task demands affect inattentional blindness, but increasingly studies are exploring the influence of observer characteristics on the detection of unexpected stimuli. It has been proposed that individual differences in working memory capacity predict inattentional blindness, on the assumption that higher working memory capacity confers greater attentional capacity for processing unexpected stimuli. Unfortunately, empirical investigations of the association between inattentional blindness and working memory capacity have produced conflicting findings. To help clarify this relationship, we examined the relationship between inattentional blindness and working memory capacity in two samples (Ns = 195, 147) of young adults. We used three common variants of sustained inattentional blindness tasks, systematically manipulating the salience of the unexpected stimulus and primary task practice. Working memory capacity, measured by automated operation span (both Experiments 1 & 2) and N-back (Experiment 1 only) tasks, did not predict detection of the unexpected stimulus in any of the inattentional blindness tasks tested. Together with previous research, this undermines claims that there is a robust relationship between inattentional blindness and working memory capacity. Rather, it appears that any relationship between inattentional blindness and working memory is either too small to have practical significance or is moderated by other factors and consequently varies with attributes such as the sample characteristics within a given study.
Williams, Melonie; Woodman, Geoffrey F.
A defining characteristic of visual working memory is its limited capacity. This means that it is crucial to maintain only the most relevant information in visual working memory. However, empirical research is mixed as to whether it is possible to selectively maintain a subset of the information previously encoded into visual working memory. Here we examined the ability of subjects to use cues to either forget or remember a subset of the information already stored in visual working memory. In Experiment 1, participants were cued to either forget or remember one of two groups of colored squares during a change-detection task. We found that both types of cues aided performance in the visual working memory task, but that observers benefited more from a cue to remember than a cue to forget a subset of the objects. In Experiment 2, we show that the previous findings, which indicated that directed-forgetting cues are ineffective, were likely due to the presence of invalid cues that appear to cause observers to disregard such cues as unreliable. In Experiment 3, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) and show that an electrophysiological index of focused maintenance is elicited by cues that indicate which subset of information in visual working memory needs to be remembered, ruling out alternative explanations of the behavioral effects of retention-interval cues. The present findings demonstrate that observers can focus maintenance mechanisms on specific objects in visual working memory based on cues indicating future task relevance. PMID:22409182
Shi, Zhan; Liu, Peiru
Sixty-one high-math-anxious persons and sixty-one low-math-anxious persons completed a modified working memory capacity task, designed to measure working memory capacity under a dysfunctional math-related context and working memory capacity under a valence-neutral context. Participants were required to perform simple tasks with emotionally benign material (i.e., lists of letters) over short intervals while simultaneously reading and making judgments about sentences describing dysfunctional math-related thoughts or sentences describing emotionally-neutral facts about the world. Working memory capacity for letters under the dysfunctional math-related context, relative to working memory capacity performance under the valence-neutral context, was poorer overall in the high-math-anxious group compared with the low-math-anxious group. The findings show a particular difficulty employing working memory in math-related contexts in high-math-anxious participants. Theories that can provide reasonable interpretations for these findings and interventions that can reduce anxiety-induced worrying intrusive thoughts or improve working memory capacity for math anxiety are discussed. PMID:27788235
Riley, Mitchell R.; Constantinidis, Christos
The prefrontal cortex is activated during working memory, as evidenced by fMRI results in human studies and neurophysiological recordings in animal models. Persistent activity during the delay period of working memory tasks, after the offset of stimuli that subjects are required to remember, has traditionally been thought of as the neural correlate of working memory. In the last few years several findings have cast doubt on the role of this activity. By some accounts, activity in other brain areas, such as the primary visual and posterior parietal cortex, is a better predictor of information maintained in visual working memory and working memory performance; dynamic patterns of activity may convey information without requiring persistent activity at all; and prefrontal neurons may be ill-suited to represent non-spatial information about the features and identity of remembered stimuli. Alternative interpretations about the role of the prefrontal cortex have thus been suggested, such as that it provides a top-down control of information represented in other brain areas, rather than maintaining a working memory trace itself. Here we review evidence for and against the role of prefrontal persistent activity, with a focus on visual neurophysiology. We show that persistent activity predicts behavioral parameters precisely in working memory tasks. We illustrate that prefrontal cortex represents features of stimuli other than their spatial location, and that this information is largely absent from early cortical areas during working memory. We examine memory models not dependent on persistent activity, and conclude that each of those models could mediate only a limited range of memory-dependent behaviors. We review activity decoded from brain areas other than the prefrontal cortex during working memory and demonstrate that these areas alone cannot mediate working memory maintenance, particularly in the presence of distractors. We finally discuss the discrepancy between
Quinette, Peggy; Guillery, Bérengère; Desgranges, Béatrice; de la Sayette, Vincent; Viader, Fausto; Eustache, Francis
Transient global amnesia (TGA) is usually considered to produce a profound impairment of long-term episodic memory, while at the same time sparing working memory. However, this neuropsychological dissociation has rarely been examined in detail. While a few studies have assessed some components of working memory in TGA, the results that have been obtained are far from conclusive. To clarify this issue, we carried out a comprehensive investigation of working memory in 10 patients during a TGA attack. In the first study, we report the results from three patients examined with a battery of neuropsychological tests designed to assess each of the three subcomponents of Baddeley's model of working memory. In a second study, seven different patients underwent neuropsychological investigations that focused specifically on the central executive system, using a protocol derived from a study by Miyake and colleagues. Our findings showed that subcomponents of working memory, such as the phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketch pad, were spared in TGA patients. Specific executive functions that entailed inhibitory control, dual task performance, updating and shifting mechanisms were also found to be normal. However, we found significantly impaired performance for the Brown-Peterson test, and that TGA patients were significantly impaired in the recollection of their episodic memories. They also made reduced numbers of 'remember' compared with 'know' judgments in the episodic memory test several days after TGA. On the basis of our findings, it would appear that the episodic memory deficit during TGA is not related to elementary aspects of executive functioning. Our data also highlight the nature of the cognitive mechanisms involved in the Brown-Peterson task, which may well depend on long-term memory (such as the process of semantic encoding). Lastly, the selective deficit in recollective episodic memories observed in TGA may be principally related to medial temporal lobe
Luo, Yu; Qin, Shaozheng; Fernández, Guillén; Zhang, Yu; Klumpers, Floris; Li, Hong
Processing of emotional stimuli can either hinder or facilitate ongoing working memory (WM); however, the neural basis of these effects remains largely unknown. Here we examined the neural mechanisms of these paradoxical effects by implementing a novel emotional WM task in an fMRI study. Twenty-five young healthy participants performed an N-back task with fearful and neutral faces as stimuli. Participants made more errors when performing 0-back task with fearful versus neutral faces, whereas they made fewer errors when performing 2-back task with fearful versus neutral faces. These emotional impairment and enhancement on behavioral performance paralleled significant interactions in distributed regions in the salience network including anterior insula (AI) and dorsal cingulate cortex (dACC), as well as in emotion perception network including amygdala and temporal-occipital association cortex (TOC). The dorsal AI (dAI) and dACC were more activated when comparing fearful with neutral faces in 0-back task. Contrarily, dAI showed reduced activation, while TOC and amygdala showed stronger responses to fearful as compared to neutral faces in the 2-back task. These findings provide direct neural evidence to the emerging dual competition model suggesting that the salience network plays a critical role in mediating interaction between emotion perception and executive control when facing ever-changing behavioral demands.
Jolles, Dietsje D.; Kleibeuker, Sietske W.; Rombouts, Serge A. R. B.; Crone, Eveline A.
The ability to keep information active in working memory is one of the cornerstones of cognitive development. Prior studies have demonstrated that regions which are important for working memory performance in adults, such as dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), and superior parietal cortex, become…
Gaillard, Vinciane; Barrouillet, Pierre; Jarrold, Christopher; Camos, Valerie
Several models assume that working memory development depends on age-related increases in efficiency and speed of processing. However, age-related increases in the efficiency of the mechanisms that counteract forgetting and restore memory traces may also be important. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments by manipulating both the…
Halford, Graeme S.; And Others
A series of studies was conducted to determine whether children's reasoning is capacity-limited and whether any such capacity, if it exists, is based on the working memory system. An N-term series (transitive inference) was used as the primary task in an interference paradigm. A concurrent short-term memory load was employed as the secondary task.…
Farrell, Simon; Lelievre, Anna
The finding that participants leave a pause between groups when attempting serial recall of temporally grouped lists has been taken to indicate access to a hierarchical representation of the list in working memory. An alternative explanation is that the dynamics of serial recall solely reflect output (rather than memorial) processes, with the…
Hills, Thomas T.; Pachur, Thorsten
What are the mechanisms underlying search in social memory (e.g., remembering the people one knows)? Do the search mechanisms involve dynamic local-to-global transitions similar to semantic search, and are these transitions governed by the general control of attention, associated with working memory span? To find out, we asked participants to…
Plancher, Gaen; Barrouillet, Pierre
The sources of forgetting in working memory remain the matter of intense debate. According to the SOB model (serial order in a box; Farrell & Lewandowsky, 2002), forgetting in complex span tasks does not result from temporal decay but from interference produced by the encoding of distractors that are superimposed over memory items onto a…
Sims, Chris R.; Jacobs, Robert A.; Knill, David C.
Limits in visual working memory (VWM) strongly constrain human performance across many tasks. However, the nature of these limits is not well understood. In this article we develop an ideal observer analysis of human VWM by deriving the expected behavior of an optimally performing but limited-capacity memory system. This analysis is framed around…
Nelson, Charles A.; Monk, Christopher S.; Lin, Joseph; Carver, Leslie J.; Thomas, Kathleen M.; Truwit, Charles L.
Used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine spatial working memory in 8- to 11-year-olds tested under 3 conditions. Found that subtracting activation of the motor condition from the memory condition revealed activity in dorsal aspects of the prefrontal cortex and in the posterior parietal and anterior cingulate cortex. Analysis of…
Caviola, Sara; Mammarella, Irene C.; Cornoldi, Cesare; Lucangeli, Daniela
The paper studies whether visuospatial working memory (VSWM) and, specifically, recall of sequential-spatial information, can be improved by metacognitive training. Twenty-two fourth-grade children were involved in seven sessions of sequential-spatial memory training, while twenty-four children attended lessons given by their teacher. The…
Collective biography draws on memory work methods developed initially by feminist sociologists (Haug et al., 1987) where people collaboratively examined the social and discursive resources through which they take themselves up as particular gendered subjects in the world. Their own memories become resources to investigate processes of…
Feredoes, Eva; Postle, Bradley R.
Left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) is a critical neural substrate for the resolution of proactive interference (PI) in working memory. We hypothesized that left IFG achieves this by controlling the influence of familiarity- versus recollection-based information about memory probes. Consistent with this idea, we observed evidence for an "early" (200…
Proactive interference (PI) may influence the predictive utility of working memory span tasks. Participants in one experiment (N=70) completed Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) and multiple versions of operation span and probed recall, modified for the type of memoranda (digits or words). Changing memoranda within- or across-trials released PI, but not doing so permitted PI buildup. Scores from PI-build trials, but not PI-release trials, correlated with RAPM and accounted for as much variance in RAPM as unmodified tasks. These results are consistent with controlled attention and inhibition accounts of working memory, and they elucidate a fundamental component of working memory span tasks.
Working memory consists of domain-specific storage facilities and domain-general executive control processes. In some working memory theories, these control processes are accounted for via a homunculus, the central executive. In the present article, the author defends a mechanistic view of executive control by adopting the position that executive control is situated in the context of goal-directed behavior to maintain and protect the goal and to select an action to attain the goal. On the basis of findings in task switching and dual tasking, he proposes an adapted multicomponent working memory model in which the central executive is replaced by three interacting components: an executive memory that maintains the task set, a collection of acquired procedural rules, and an engine that executes the procedural rules that match the ensemble of working memory contents. The strongest among the rules that match the ensemble of working memory contents is applied, resulting in changes of the working memory contents or in motor actions. According to this model, goals are attained when the route to the goals is known or can be searched when the route is unknown (problem solving). Empirical evidence for this proposal and new predictions are discussed.
Bergmann, Johanna; Genç, Erhan; Kohler, Axel; Singer, Wolf; Pearson, Joel
Despite the immense processing power of the human brain, working memory storage is severely limited, and the neuroanatomical basis of these limitations has remained elusive. Here, we show that the stable storage limits of visual working memory for over 9 s are bound by the precise gray matter volume of primary visual cortex (V1), defined by fMRI retinotopic mapping. Individuals with a bigger V1 tended to have greater visual working memory storage. This relationship was present independently for both surface size and thickness of V1 but absent in V2, V3 and for non-visual working memory measures. Additional whole-brain analyses confirmed the specificity of the relationship to V1. Our findings indicate that the size of primary visual cortex plays a critical role in limiting what we can hold in mind, acting like a gatekeeper in constraining the richness of working mental function.
Nie, Jia; Zhang, Wei; Chen, Jia; Li, Wendi
Impairments in response inhibition and working memory functions have been found to be closely associated with internet addiction (IA) symptoms and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. In this study, we examined response inhibition and working memory processes with two different materials (internet-related and internet-unrelated stimuli) among adolescents with IA, ADHD and co-morbid IA/ADHD. Twenty-four individuals with IA, 28 individuals with ADHD, 17 individuals with IA/ADHD, and 26 matched normal controls (NC) individuals were recruited. All participants were measured with a Stop-Signal Task and 2-Back Task under the same experimental conditions. In comparison to the NC group, subjects with IA, ADHD and IA/ADHD demonstrated impaired inhibition and working memory. In addition, in comparison to internet-unrelated conditions, IA and co-morbid subjects performed worse on the internet-related condition in the Stop trials during the stop-signal task, and they showed better working memory on the internet-related condition in the 2-Back Task. The findings of our study suggest individuals with IA and IA/ADHD may be impaired in inhibition and working memory functions that might be linked to poor inhibition specifically related to internet-related stimuli, which will advance our understanding of IA and contribute to prevention and intervention strategies.
de Fockert, Jan W.; Bremner, Andrew J.
An unexpected stimulus often remains unnoticed if attention is focused elsewhere. This inattentional blindness has been shown to be increased under conditions of high memory load. Here we show that increasing working memory load can also have the opposite effect of reducing inattentional blindness (i.e., improving stimulus detection) if stimulus…
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth
Working memory skills have been shown to be enhanced by adaptive training in several randomised controlled trials. Here, two field trials were conducted in which teachers administered working memory training to their own pupils in school. Twenty-two children aged 8–9 years participated in Trial 1. In Trial 2, 50 children aged 9–11 years with the lowest academic performance completed training. They were matched with a group of 50 children who were not trained. Following training, children in Trial 1 improved significantly in both trained and untrained working memory tasks, with effect sizes comparable to those reported in research studies. Improvements on the trained tasks in Trial 2 were comparable, and training was associated with significantly greater progress at school across the academic year in maths and English. These findings indicate that teacher-administered training leads to generalised and robust gains in working memory and educationally significant gains in academic performance. PMID:26494933
Morey, Candice C; Elliott, Emily M; Wiggers, Jody; Eaves, Sharon D; Shelton, Jill T; Mall, Jonathan T
Relationships between Stroop interference and working memory capacity may reflect individual differences in resolving conflict, susceptibility to goal neglect, or both of these factors. We compared relationships between working memory capacity and three Stroop tasks: a classic, printed color-word Stroop task, a cross-modal Stroop, and a new version of cross-modal Stroop with a concurrent auditory monitoring component. Each of these tasks showed evidence of interference between the semantic meaning of the color word and the to-be-named color, suggesting these tasks each require resolution of interference. However, only Stroop interference in the print-based task with high proportions of congruent trials correlated significantly with working memory capacity. This evidence suggests that the relationships observed between Stroop interference and working memory capacity are primarily driven by individual differences in the propensity to actively maintain a goal.
Dalton, Polly; Lavie, Nilli; Spence, Charles
Load theory suggests that working memory controls the extent to which irrelevant distractors are processed (e.g., Lavie, Hirst, De Fockert, & Viding, 2004). However, so far this proposal has only been tested in vision. Here, we examine the extent to which tactile selective attention also depends on working memory. In Experiment 1, participants focused their attention on continuous target vibrations while attempting to ignore pulsed distractor vibrations. In Experiment 2, targets were always presented to a particular hand, with distractors being presented to the other hand. In both experiments, a high (vs. low) load in a concurrent working memory task led to greater interference by the tactile distractors. These results establish the role of working memory in the control of tactile selective attention, demonstrating for the first time that the principles of load theory also apply to the tactile modality.
Rahm, Benjamin; Kaiser, Jochen; Unterrainer, Josef M; Simon, Juliane; Bledowski, Christoph
Encoding and maintenance of information in visual working memory have been extensively studied, highlighting the crucial and capacity-limiting role of fronto-parietal regions. In contrast, the neural basis of recognition in visual working memory has remained largely unspecified. Cognitive models suggest that recognition relies on a matching process that compares sensory information with the mental representations held in memory. To characterize the neural basis of recognition we varied both the need for recognition and the degree of similarity between the probe item and the memory contents, while independently manipulating memory load to produce load-related fronto-parietal activations. fMRI revealed a fractionation of working memory functions across four distributed networks. First, fronto-parietal regions were activated independent of the need for recognition. Second, anterior parts of load-related parietal regions contributed to recognition but their activations were independent of the difficulty of matching in terms of sample-probe similarity. These results argue against a key role of the fronto-parietal attention network in recognition. Rather the third group of regions including bilateral temporo-parietal junction, posterior cingulate cortex and superior frontal sulcus reflected demands on matching both in terms of sample-probe-similarity and the number of items to be compared. Also, fourth, bilateral motor regions and right superior parietal cortex showed higher activation when matching provided clear evidence for a decision. Together, the segregation between the well-known fronto-parietal activations attributed to attentional operations in working memory from those regions involved in matching supports the theoretical view of separable attentional and mnemonic contributions to working memory. Yet, the close theoretical and empirical correspondence to perceptual decision making may call for an explicit consideration of decision making mechanisms in
Morgan, Barak; Terburg, David; Thornton, Helena B.; Stein, Dan J.; van Honk, Jack
Working memory is a vital cognitive capacity without which meaningful thinking and logical reasoning would be impossible. Working memory is integrally dependent upon prefrontal cortex and it has been suggested that voluntary control of working memory, enabling sustained emotion inhibition, was the crucial step in the evolution of modern humans. Consistent with this, recent fMRI studies suggest that working memory performance depends upon the capacity of prefrontal cortex to suppress bottom-up amygdala signals during emotional arousal. However fMRI is not well-suited to definitively resolve questions of causality. Moreover, the amygdala is neither structurally or functionally homogenous and fMRI studies do not resolve which amygdala sub-regions interfere with working memory. Lesion studies on the other hand can contribute unique causal evidence on aspects of brain-behaviour phenomena fMRI cannot “see”. To address these questions we investigated working memory performance in three adult female subjects with bilateral basolateral amygdala calcification consequent to Urbach-Wiethe Disease and ten healthy controls. Amygdala lesion extent and functionality was determined by structural and functional MRI methods. Working memory performance was assessed using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III digit span forward task. State and trait anxiety measures to control for possible emotional differences between patient and control groups were administered. Structural MRI showed bilateral selective basolateral amygdala damage in the three Urbach-Wiethe Disease subjects and fMRI confirmed intact functionality in the remaining amygdala sub-regions. The three Urbach-Wiethe Disease subjects showed significant working memory facilitation relative to controls. Control measures showed no group anxiety differences. Results are provisionally interpreted in terms of a ‘cooperation through competition’ networks model that may account for the observed paradoxical functional
Ryu, Jae Wook; Byun, Hong Sik; Choi, Dae Seob; Lee, Eun Jeong; Chung, Woo In; Cho, Jae Min; Han, Boo Kyung
Objective In order to investigate the functional brain anatomy associated with verbal and visual working memory, functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed. Materials and Methods In ten normal right handed subjects, functional MR images were obtained using a 1.5-T MR scanner and the EPI BOLD technique. An item recognition task was used for stimulation, and during the activation period of the verbal working memory task, consonant letters were used. During the activation period of the visual working memory task, symbols or diagrams were employed instead of letters. For the post-processing of images, the SPM program was used, with the threshold of significance set at p < .001. We assessed activated brain areas during the two stimulation tasks and compared the activated regions between the two tasks. Results The prefrontal cortex and secondary visual cortex were activated bilaterally by both verbal and visual working memory tasks, and the patterns of activated signals were similar in both tasks. The superior parietal cortex was also activated by both tasks, with lateralization to the left in the verbal task, and bilaterally without lateralization in the visual task. The inferior frontal cortex, inferior parietal cortex and temporal gyrus were activated exclusively by the verbal working memory task, predominantly in the left hemisphere. Conclusion The prefrontal cortex is activated by two stimulation tasks, and this is related to the function of the central executive. The language areas activated by the verbal working memory task may be a function of the phonological loop. Bilateral prefrontal and superior parietal cortices activated by the visual working memory task may be related to the visual maintenance of objects, representing visual working memory. PMID:11752924
Coppin, Géraldine; Nolan-Poupart, Sarah; Jones-Gotman, Marilyn; Small, Dana M.
Obesity has been associated with impaired executive functions including working memory. Less explored is the influence of obesity on learning and memory. In the current study we assessed stimulus reward association learning, explicit learning and memory and working memory in healthy weight, overweight and obese individuals. Explicit learning and memory did not differ as a function of group. In contrast, working memory was significantly and similarly impaired in both overweight and obese individuals compared to the healthy weight group. In the first reward association learning task the obese, but not healthy weight or overweight participants consistently formed paradoxical preferences for a pattern associated with a negative outcome (fewer food rewards). To determine if the deficit was specific to food reward a second experiment was conducted using money. Consistent with experiment 1, obese individuals selected the pattern associated with a negative outcome (fewer monetary rewards) more frequently than healthy weight individuals and thus failed to develop a significant preference for the most rewarded patterns as was observed in the healthy weight group. Finally, on a probabilistic learning task, obese compared to healthy weight individuals showed deficits in negative, but not positive outcome learning. Taken together, our results demonstrate deficits in working memory and stimulus reward learning in obesity and suggest that obese individuals are impaired in learning to avoid negative outcomes. PMID:25447070
Kilpatrick, Zachary P; Ermentrout, Bard; Doiron, Brent
A neural correlate of parametric working memory is a stimulus-specific rise in neuron firing rate that persists long after the stimulus is removed. Network models with local excitation and broad inhibition support persistent neural activity, linking network architecture and parametric working memory. Cortical neurons receive noisy input fluctuations that cause persistent activity to diffusively wander about the network, degrading memory over time. We explore how cortical architecture that supports parametric working memory affects the diffusion of persistent neural activity. Studying both a spiking network and a simplified potential well model, we show that spatially heterogeneous excitatory coupling stabilizes a discrete number of persistent states, reducing the diffusion of persistent activity over the network. However, heterogeneous coupling also coarse-grains the stimulus representation space, limiting the storage capacity of parametric working memory. The storage errors due to coarse-graining and diffusion trade off so that information transfer between the initial and recalled stimulus is optimized at a fixed network heterogeneity. For sufficiently long delay times, the optimal number of attractors is less than the number of possible stimuli, suggesting that memory networks can under-represent stimulus space to optimize performance. Our results clearly demonstrate the combined effects of network architecture and stochastic fluctuations on parametric memory storage.
Lee, Clara S C; Pei, Jacqueline; Andrew, Gail; A Kerns, Kimberly; Rasmussen, Carmen
Researchers have reported benefits of working memory training in various populations, however, the training gains in preterm population is still inadequately studied. This study aimed to investigate the transfer and lasting effects of an online working memory training program on a group of preterm children aged between 4 and 6 years (mean gestational age = 28.3 weeks; mean birth weight = 1153 grams). Children were asked to perform the Cogmed JM at home for approximately 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Their nontrained working memory and attention were assessed pre-training, post-training, and at 5-week follow-up. Parent ratings on children's executive functions were obtained at the three time points. Results revealed that significant improvements in verbal working memory was emerging in preterm children at 5-week follow-up, while significant gains in visuospatial working memory was found post-training and at 5-week follow-up in age-matched term-born children. These results indicated that working memory training has benefits on preterm children; however, the gains are different from those observed in term-born children. No significant differences in attention and parent-rated EF were found in either group across time. The possible explanations for the training benefits observed in preterm children were discussed.
When stimuli compete for sensory processing and response selection, coherent goal-guided behavior requires cognitive control so that task-relevant “targets” rather than irrelevant distractors are selected. It has been shown that reduced cognitive control under high working memory load increases distractor competition for selection. It remains unknown, though, whether cognitive control by working memory has an effect on the earliest levels of sensory processing in primary visual cortex. The present study addressed this question by having subjects perform a selective attention task involving classification of meaningful target objects while also ignoring congruent and incongruent distractor images. The level of cognitive control over distractor competition was varied through a concurrent working memory task of either low (1 digit) or high (6 digits) load. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater distractor competition effects not only on behavior but also on the sensory correlates in primary visual cortex (areas V1–V2) in conditions of high (vs. low) working memory load. In addition, high working memory load resulted in increased congruency-related functional connectivity between anterior cingulate cortex and V1. These results are the first to establish the neural correlates of distractor competition effects in primary visual cortex and the critical role of working memory in their cognitive control. PMID:20699229
Brooks, David W.; Shell, Duane F.
Working memory is where we "think" as we learn. A notion that emerges as a synthesis from several threads in the research literatures of cognition, motivation, and connectionism is that motivation in learning is the process whereby working memory resource allocation is instigated and sustained. This paper reviews much literature on motivation and working memory, and concludes that the apparent novelty of the proposal offered to describe motivation in terms of working memory results from the apparent lack of cross-channel exchange among these research traditions. The relation between working memory and motivation is explored in the context of the interactive compensatory model of learning (ICML) in which learning is considered to result from the interaction of ability, motivation, and prior learning. The ICML is recast in light of the revised definition of motivation offered here. This paper goes on to suggest ways in which a range of teaching and learning issues and activities may be reconceptualized in the context of a model emphasizing a learner's working memory that makes use of chunks of previously acquired knowledge.
Mackenzie, Michael J.; Zuniga, Krystle E.; Raine, Lauren B.; Awick, Elizabeth A.; Hillman, Charles H.; Kramer, Arthur F.
Abstract Background: This study examined the effects of cardiorespiratory fitness, heart rate recovery, and physical activity on working memory in breast cancer survivors and age-matched controls. Method: Using a case-control design, 32 women who had received a breast cancer diagnosis and completed primary treatment within the past 36-months (11 radiation only; 21 chemotherapy) and 30 age-matched women with no previous cancer diagnosis completed a n-back continuous performance task commonly used as an assessment of working memory. In addition, cardiorespiratory fitness and heart rate recovery were measured during a submaximal graded exercise test and physical activity was measured using 7-days of accelerometer monitoring. Results: Breast cancer survivors who had received chemotherapy had poorer heart rate recovery (p = .010) and engaged in less physical activity than women who had received radiation only (p = .004) or non-cancer controls (p = .029). Cancer treatment (radiation; chemotherapy) predicted differences in reaction times on the 1-back working memory task (p = .029). However, more rapid heart rate recovery predicted shorter reaction times on the 1-back task in the age-matched control group (p = .002). All participants with greater cardiorespiratory fitness displayed greater accuracy independent of disease status on the 1-back task (p = .017). No significant group differences in reaction times were observed for 2-back target trials between breast cancer survivors and controls. However, greater total physical activity predicted shorter reaction times in breast cancer survivors (radiation, chemotherapy) on the 2-back task (p = .014). In addition, all participants who exhibited more rapid heart rate recovery demonstrated better greater accuracy regardless of disease status (p = .013). Conclusion: These findings support differences in physical activty participation, heart rate recovery, and 1- and 2-back working memory reaction
Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Hampton, Robert R.
Cognitive control is critical for efficiently using the limited resources in working memory. It is well established that humans use rehearsal to increase the probability of remembering needed information, but little is known in nonhumans, with some studies reporting the absence of active control and others subject to alternative explanations. We trained monkeys in a visual matching-to-sample paradigm with a post-sample memory cue. Monkeys either saw a remember cue that predicted the occurrence of a matching test that required memory for the sample, or a forget cue that predicted a discrimination test that did not require memory of the sample. Infrequent probe trials on which monkeys were given tests of the type not cued on that trial were used to assess whether memory was under cognitive control. Our procedures controlled for reward expectation and for the surprising nature of the probes. Monkeys matched less accurately after forget cues, while discrimination accuracy was equivalent in the two cue conditions. We also tested monkeys with lists of two consecutive sample images that shared the same cue. Again, memory for expected memory tests was superior to that on unexpected tests. Together these results show that monkeys cognitively control their working memory. PMID:25436219
Schneegans, Sebastian; Spencer, John P.; Schöner, Gregor; Hwang, Seongmin; Hollingworth, Andrew
Recent psychophysical experiments have shown that working memory for visual surface features interacts with saccadic motor planning, even in tasks where the saccade target is unambiguously specified by spatial cues. Specifically, a match between a memorized color and the color of either the designated target or a distractor stimulus influences saccade target selection, saccade amplitudes, and latencies in a systematic fashion. To elucidate these effects, we present a dynamic neural field model in combination with new experimental data. The model captures the neural processes underlying visual perception, working memory, and saccade planning relevant to the psychophysical experiment. It consists of a low-level visual sensory representation that interacts with two separate pathways: a spatial pathway implementing spatial attention and saccade generation, and a surface feature pathway implementing color working memory and feature attention. Due to bidirectional coupling between visual working memory and feature attention in the model, the working memory content can indirectly exert an effect on perceptual processing in the low-level sensory representation. This in turn biases saccadic movement planning in the spatial pathway, allowing the model to quantitatively reproduce the observed interaction effects. The continuous coupling between representations in the model also implies that modulation should be bidirectional, and model simulations provide specific predictions for complementary effects of saccade target selection on visual working memory. These predictions were empirically confirmed in a new experiment: Memory for a sample color was biased toward the color of a task-irrelevant saccade target object, demonstrating the bidirectional coupling between visual working memory and perceptual processing. PMID:25228628
Zhu, Siying; Henninger, Keely; McGrath, Barbara C; Cavener, Douglas R
PERK (EIF2AK3) is an ER-resident eIF2α kinase required for memory flexibility and metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent long-term depression, processes known to be dependent on new protein synthesis. Here we investigated PERK's role in working memory, a cognitive ability that is independent of new protein synthesis, but instead is dependent on cellular Ca2+ dynamics. We found that working memory is impaired in forebrain-specific Perk knockout and pharmacologically PERK-inhibited mice. Moreover, inhibition of PERK in wild-type mice mimics the fear extinction impairment observed in forebrain-specific Perk knockout mice. Our findings reveal a novel role of PERK in cognitive functions and suggest that PERK regulates both Ca2+ -dependent working memory and protein synthesis-dependent memory flexibility.
Salazar, RF; Dotson, NM; Bressler, SL; Gray, CM
Lateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortical areas exhibit task-dependent activation during working memory tasks in humans and monkeys. Neurons in these regions become synchronized during attention demanding tasks, but the contribution of these interactions to working memory is largely unknown. Using simultaneous recordings of neural activity from multiple areas in both regions, we find widespread, task-dependent and content specific synchronization of activity across the fronto-parietal network during visual working memory. The patterns of synchronization are prevalent among stimulus selective neurons and are governed by influences arising in parietal cortex. These results indicate that short-term memories are represented by large-scale patterns of synchronized activity across the fronto-parietal network. PMID:23118014
Spillers, Gregory J.; Unsworth, Nash
Unsworth and Engle (2007) recently proposed a model of working memory capacity characterized by, among other things, the ability to conduct a strategic, cue-dependent search of long-term memory. Although this ability has been found to mediate individual variation in a number of higher order cognitive tasks, the component processes involved remain…
Artuso, Caterina; Palladino, Paola
The aim of the present study was to investigate how working memory updating for verbal material is modulated by enduring properties of long-term memory. Two coexisting perspectives that account for the relation between long-term representation and short-term performance were addressed. First, evidence suggests that performance is more closely linked to lexical properties, that is, co-occurrences within the language. Conversely, other evidence suggests that performance is linked more to long-term representations which do not entail lexical/linguistic representations. Our aim was to investigate how these two kinds of long-term memory associations (i.e., lexical or nonlexical) modulate ongoing working memory activity. Therefore, we manipulated (between participants) the strength of the association in letters based on either frequency of co-occurrences (lexical) or contiguity along the sequence of the alphabet (nonlexical). Results showed a cost in working memory updating for strongly lexically associated stimuli only. Our findings advance knowledge of how lexical long-term memory associations between consonants affect working memory updating and, in turn, contribute to the study of factors which impact the updating process across memory systems.
Sims, Chris R.; Jacobs, Robert A.; Knill, David C.
Limits in visual working memory (VWM) strongly constrain human performance across many tasks. However, the nature of these limits is not well understood. In this paper we develop an ideal observer analysis of human visual working memory, by deriving the expected behavior of an optimally performing, but limited-capacity memory system. This analysis is framed around rate–distortion theory, a branch of information theory that provides optimal bounds on the accuracy of information transmission subject to a fixed information capacity. The result of the ideal observer analysis is a theoretical framework that provides a task-independent and quantitative definition of visual memory capacity and yields novel predictions regarding human performance. These predictions are subsequently evaluated and confirmed in two empirical studies. Further, the framework is general enough to allow the specification and testing of alternative models of visual memory (for example, how capacity is distributed across multiple items). We demonstrate that a simple model developed on the basis of the ideal observer analysis—one which allows variability in the number of stored memory representations, but does not assume the presence of a fixed item limit—provides an excellent account of the empirical data, and further offers a principled re-interpretation of existing models of visual working memory. PMID:22946744
Pearson, David G; Ball, Keira; Smith, Daniel T
There is little consensus regarding the specific processes responsible for encoding, maintenance, and retrieval of information in visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM). One influential theory is that VSWM may involve activation of the eye-movement (oculomotor) system. In this study we experimentally prevented healthy participants from planning or executing saccadic eye-movements during the encoding, maintenance, and retrieval stages of visual and spatial working memory tasks. Participants experienced a significant reduction in spatial memory span only when oculomotor preparation was prevented during encoding or maintenance. In contrast there was no reduction when oculomotor preparation was prevented only during retrieval. These results show that (a) involvement of the oculomotor system is necessary for optimal maintenance of directly-indicated locations in spatial working memory and (b) oculomotor preparation is not necessary during retrieval from spatial working memory. We propose that this study is the first to unambiguously demonstrate that the oculomotor system contributes to the maintenance of spatial locations in working memory independently from the involvement of covert attention.
Repovš, Grega; Barch, Deanna M.
A growing number of studies have reported altered functional connectivity in schizophrenia during putatively “task-free” states and during the performance of cognitive tasks. However, there have been few systematic examinations of functional connectivity in schizophrenia across rest and different task states to assess the degree to which altered functional connectivity reflects a stable characteristic or whether connectivity changes vary as a function of task demands. We assessed functional connectivity during rest and during three working memory loads of an N-back task (0-back, 1-back, 2-back) among: (1) individuals with schizophrenia (N = 19); (2) the siblings of individuals with schizophrenia (N = 28); (3) healthy controls (N = 10); and (4) the siblings of healthy controls (N = 17). We examined connectivity within and between four brain networks: (1) frontal–parietal (FP); (2) cingulo-opercular (CO); (3) cerebellar (CER); and (4) default mode (DMN). In terms of within-network connectivity, we found that connectivity within the DMN and FP increased significantly between resting state and 0-back, while connectivity within the CO and CER decreased significantly between resting state and 0-back. Additionally, we found that connectivity within both the DMN and FP was further modulated by memory load. In terms of between network connectivity, we found that the DMN became significantly more “anti-correlated” with the FP, CO, and CER networks during 0-back as compared to rest, and that connectivity between the FP and both CO and CER networks increased with memory load. Individuals with schizophrenia and their siblings showed consistent reductions in connectivity between both the FP and CO networks with the CER network, a finding that was similar in magnitude across rest and all levels of working memory load. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that altered functional connectivity in schizophrenia reflects a stable characteristic
Robinson, John A.; Bennink, Carl D.
A study was conducted to provide an assessment of the general efficiency of working memory in relation to level of field articulation. The task required a subject to retain a series of digits for subsequent report while performing a semantic modification of a target phrase. The working memory hypothesis predicts that the joint impact of high…
León-Domínguez, Umberto; Martín-Rodríguez, Juan Francisco; León-Carrión, José
Working memory (WM) has been defined as a cerebral function which allows us to maintain and manipulate information "online". One of the most widely used paradigms to assess WM is the n-back test. Despite its extensive application, some authors have questioned its capacity to assess the manipulation of WM load. The present study introduces a new version of the n-back test to carry out this assessment. We use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to evaluate prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation. The modified n-back requires monitoring of sequentially presented stimuli (in this case the days of the week). The target response relates to a stimulus which appears previously, from 0 to 2 items back, on the computer screen. Our data reveals that while modified and unmodified n-back activate the same regions of the left PFC, our modified 2-back version shows significantly higher activation in the left dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) and the left frontal opercula. These results suggest that increased complexity in verbal WM tasks entail greater executive control, which would lead to an increase in cerebral blood flow to the areas associated with verbal WM. Therefore, an increase in the manipulation of WM load in verbal tasks reflects greater physiological activity in the left DLPFC and the left frontal opercula. The modified n-back test may also be incorporated into the armamentarium of valid instruments for the neuropsychological assessment of the maintenance and manipulation of verbal information in tasks requiring working memory.
Chechko, Natalia; Vocke, Sebastian; Habel, Ute; Toygar, Timur; Kuckartz, Lisa; Berthold-Losleben, Mark; Laoutidis, Zacharias G; Orfanos, Stelios; Wassenberg, Annette; Karges, Wölfram; Schneider, Frank; Kohn, Nils
Glucose metabolism serves as the central source of energy for the human brain. Little is known about the effects of blood glucose level (BGL) on higher-order cognitive functions within a physiological range (e.g., after overnight fasting). In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study, we assessed the impact of overnight fasting (14 h) on brain activation during a working memory task. We sought to mimic BGLs that occur naturally in healthy humans after overnight fasting. After standardized periods of food restriction, 40 (20 male) healthy participants were randomly assigned to receive either glucagon to balance the BGL or placebo (NaCl). A parametric fMRI paradigm, including 2-back and 0-back tasks, was used. Subclinically low BGL following overnight fasting was found to be linked to reduced involvement of the bilateral dorsal midline thalamus and the bilateral basal ganglia, suggesting high sensitivity of those regions to minimal changes in BGLs. Our results indicate that overnight fasting leads to physiologically low levels of glucose, impacting brain activation during working memory tasks even when there are no differences in cognitive performance.
Smith, Andra M; Fried, Peter A; Hogan, Matthew J; Cameron, Ian
The long lasting neurophysiological effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on visuospatial working memory were investigated in 18-22 year olds using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The participants are members of the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study (OPPS), a longitudinal study that provides a unique body of information collected from each participant over 20 years, including prenatal drug history, detailed cognitive/behavioral performance from infancy to young adulthood, and current and past drug usage. This information allowed for the control of potentially confounding drug exposure variables in the statistical analyses. Thirty-one offspring from the OPPS (16 prenatally exposed and 15 nonexposed) performed a visuospatial 2-back task while neural activity was imaged with fMRI. Cognitive performance data were also collected. No significant performance differences were observed when comparing controls versus exposed participants. Multiple regression analyses (including controls with no exposure) revealed that as the amount of prenatal marijuana exposure increased, there was significantly more neural activity in the left inferior and middle frontal gyri, left parahippocampal gyrus, left middle occipital gyrus and left cerebellum. There was also significantly less activity in right inferior and middle frontal gyri. These results suggest that prenatal marijuana exposure alters neural functioning during visuospatial working memory processing in young adulthood.
Üstün, Sertaç; Kale, Emre H; Çiçek, Metehan
Time is an important concept which determines most human behaviors, however questions remain about how time is perceived and which areas of the brain are responsible for time perception. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between time perception and working memory in healthy adults. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used during the application of a visual paradigm. In all of the conditions, the participants were presented with a moving black rectangle on a gray screen. The rectangle was obstructed by a black bar for a time period and then reappeared again. During different conditions, participants (n = 15, eight male) responded according to the instructions they were given, including details about time and the working memory or dual task requirements. The results showed activations in right dorsolateral prefrontal and right intraparietal cortical networks, together with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), anterior insula and basal ganglia (BG) during time perception. On the other hand, working memory engaged the left prefrontal cortex, ACC, left superior parietal cortex, BG and cerebellum activity. Both time perception and working memory were related to a strong peristriate cortical activity. On the other hand, the interaction of time and memory showed activity in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). These results support a distributed neural network based model for time perception and that the intraparietal and posterior cingulate areas might play a role in the interface of memory and timing.
Üstün, Sertaç; Kale, Emre H.; Çiçek, Metehan
Time is an important concept which determines most human behaviors, however questions remain about how time is perceived and which areas of the brain are responsible for time perception. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between time perception and working memory in healthy adults. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used during the application of a visual paradigm. In all of the conditions, the participants were presented with a moving black rectangle on a gray screen. The rectangle was obstructed by a black bar for a time period and then reappeared again. During different conditions, participants (n = 15, eight male) responded according to the instructions they were given, including details about time and the working memory or dual task requirements. The results showed activations in right dorsolateral prefrontal and right intraparietal cortical networks, together with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), anterior insula and basal ganglia (BG) during time perception. On the other hand, working memory engaged the left prefrontal cortex, ACC, left superior parietal cortex, BG and cerebellum activity. Both time perception and working memory were related to a strong peristriate cortical activity. On the other hand, the interaction of time and memory showed activity in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). These results support a distributed neural network based model for time perception and that the intraparietal and posterior cingulate areas might play a role in the interface of memory and timing. PMID:28286475
Crawford, L Elizabeth; Landy, David; Salthouse, Timothy A
Spatial memory research has attributed systematic bias in location estimates to a combination of a noisy memory trace with a prior structure that people impose on the space. Little is known about intraindividual stability and interindividual variation in these patterns of bias. In the current work, we align recent empirical and theoretical work on working memory capacity limits and spatial memory bias to generate the prediction that those with lower working memory capacity will show greater bias in memory of the location of a single item. Reanalyzing data from a large study of cognitive aging, we find support for this prediction. Fitting separate models to individuals' data revealed a surprising variety of strategies. Some were consistent with Bayesian models of spatial category use, however roughly half of participants biased estimates outward in a way not predicted by current models and others seemed to combine these strategies. These analyses highlight the importance of studying individuals when developing general models of cognition. (PsycINFO Database Record
Tsutsui, Ken-Ichiro; Oyama, Kei; Nakamura, Shinya; Iijima, Toshio
Neural mechanisms of working memory, particularly its visuospatial aspect, have long been studied in non-human primates. On the other hand, rodents are becoming more important in systems neuroscience, as many of the innovative research methods have become available for them. There has been a question on whether primates and rodents have similar neural backgrounds for working memory. In this article, we carried out a comparative overview of the neural mechanisms of visuospatial working memory in monkeys and rats. In monkeys, a number of lesion studies indicate that the brain region most responsible for visuospatial working memory is the ventral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (vDLPFC), as the performance in the standard tests for visuospatial working memory, such as delayed response and delayed alternation tasks, are impaired by lesions in this region. Single-unit studies revealed a characteristic firing pattern in neurons in this area, a sustained delay activity. Further studies indicated that the information maintained in the working memory, such as cue location and response direction in a delayed response, is coded in the sustained delay activity. In rats, an area comparable to the monkey vDLPFC was found to be the dorsal part of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), as the delayed alternation in a T-maze is impaired by its lesion. Recently, the sustained delay activity similar to that found in monkeys has been found in the dorsal mPFC of rats performing the delayed response task. Furthermore, anatomical studies indicate that the vDLPFC in monkeys and the dorsal mPFC in rats have much in common, such as that they are both the major targets of parieto-frontal projections. Thus lines of evidence indicate that in both monkeys and rodents, the PFC plays a critical role in working memory. PMID:28018186
Tsutsui, Ken-Ichiro; Oyama, Kei; Nakamura, Shinya; Iijima, Toshio
Neural mechanisms of working memory, particularly its visuospatial aspect, have long been studied in non-human primates. On the other hand, rodents are becoming more important in systems neuroscience, as many of the innovative research methods have become available for them. There has been a question on whether primates and rodents have similar neural backgrounds for working memory. In this article, we carried out a comparative overview of the neural mechanisms of visuospatial working memory in monkeys and rats. In monkeys, a number of lesion studies indicate that the brain region most responsible for visuospatial working memory is the ventral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (vDLPFC), as the performance in the standard tests for visuospatial working memory, such as delayed response and delayed alternation tasks, are impaired by lesions in this region. Single-unit studies revealed a characteristic firing pattern in neurons in this area, a sustained delay activity. Further studies indicated that the information maintained in the working memory, such as cue location and response direction in a delayed response, is coded in the sustained delay activity. In rats, an area comparable to the monkey vDLPFC was found to be the dorsal part of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), as the delayed alternation in a T-maze is impaired by its lesion. Recently, the sustained delay activity similar to that found in monkeys has been found in the dorsal mPFC of rats performing the delayed response task. Furthermore, anatomical studies indicate that the vDLPFC in monkeys and the dorsal mPFC in rats have much in common, such as that they are both the major targets of parieto-frontal projections. Thus lines of evidence indicate that in both monkeys and rodents, the PFC plays a critical role in working memory.
Conway, Andrew R. A.; Cowan, Nelsin; Bunting, Michael F.; Therriault, David J.; Minkoff, Scott R. B.
Studied the interrelationships among general fluid intelligence, short-term memory capacity, working memory capacity, and processing speed in 120 young adults and used structural equation modeling to determine the best predictor of general fluid intelligence. Results suggest that working memory capacity, but not short-term memory capacity or…
Bays, Paul M
Errors in short-term memory increase with the quantity of information stored, limiting the complexity of cognition and behavior. In visual memory, attempts to account for errors in terms of allocation of a limited pool of working memory resources have met with some success, but the biological basis for this cognitive architecture is unclear. An alternative perspective attributes recall errors to noise in tuned populations of neurons that encode stimulus features in spiking activity. I show that errors associated with decreasing signal strength in probabilistically spiking neurons reproduce the pattern of failures in human recall under increasing memory load. In particular, deviations from the normal distribution that are characteristic of working memory errors and have been attributed previously to guesses or variability in precision are shown to arise as a natural consequence of decoding populations of tuned neurons. Observers possess fine control over memory representations and prioritize accurate storage of behaviorally relevant information, at a cost to lower priority stimuli. I show that changing the input drive to neurons encoding a prioritized stimulus biases population activity in a manner that reproduces this empirical tradeoff in memory precision. In a task in which predictive cues indicate stimuli most probable for test, human observers use the cues in an optimal manner to maximize performance, within the constraints imposed by neural noise.
Lewis, Richard L.; Vasishth, Shravan; Van Dyke, Julie A.
Understanding a sentence requires a working memory of the partial products of comprehension, so that linguistic relations between temporally distal parts of the sentence can be rapidly computed. We describe an emerging theoretical framework for this working memory system that incorporates several independently motivated principles of memory: a sharply limited attentional focus, rapid retrieval of item (but not order) information subject to interference from similar items, and activation decay (forgetting over time). A computational model embodying these principles provides an explanation of the functional capacities and severe limitations of human processing, as well as accounts of reading times. The broad implication is that the detailed nature of crosslinguistic sentence processing emerges from the interaction of general principles of human memory with the specialized task of language comprehension. PMID:16949330
Karbach, Julia; Verhaeghen, Paul
This meta-analysis examined the effects of process-based executive-function and working memory training (49 articles, 61 independent samples) in older adults (> 60 years). The interventions resulted in significant effects on performance on the trained task and near-transfer tasks; significant results were obtained for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to active and passive control groups and for the net effect at posttest relative to active and passive control groups. Far-transfer effects were smaller than near-transfer effects but were significant for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to passive control groups and for the net gain at posttest relative to both active and passive control groups. We detected marginally significant differences in training-induced improvements between working memory and executive-function training, but no differences between the training-induced improvements observed in older adults and younger adults, between the benefits associated with adaptive and nonadaptive training, or between the effects in active and passive control conditions. Gains did not vary with total training time.
Shen, Mowei; Xu, Haokui; Zhang, Haihang; Shui, Rende; Zhang, Meng; Zhou, Jifan
Visual working memory (VWM) has been traditionally viewed as a mental structure subsequent to visual perception that stores the final output of perceptual processing. However, VWM has recently been emphasized as a critical component of online perception, providing storage for the intermediate perceptual representations produced during visual processing. This interactive view holds the core assumption that VWM is not the terminus of perceptual processing; the stored visual information rather continues to undergo perceptual processing if necessary. The current study tests this assumption, demonstrating an example of involuntary integration of the VWM content, by creating the Ponzo illusion in VWM: when the Ponzo illusion figure was divided into its individual components and sequentially encoded into VWM, the temporally separated components were involuntarily integrated, leading to the distorted length perception of the two horizontal lines. This VWM Ponzo illusion was replicated when the figure components were presented in different combinations and presentation order. The magnitude of the illusion was significantly correlated between VWM and perceptual versions of the Ponzo illusion. These results suggest that the information integration underling the VWM Ponzo illusion is constrained by the laws of visual perception and similarly affected by the common individual factors that govern its perception. Thus, our findings provide compelling evidence that VWM functions as a buffer serving perceptual processes at early stages.
Abrahamse, Elger; van Dijck, Jean-Philippe; Fias, Wim
Number-space associations are a robust observation, but their underlying mechanisms remain debated. Two major accounts have been identified. First, spatial codes may constitute an intrinsic part of number representations stored in the brain – a perspective most commonly referred to as the Mental Number Line account. Second, spatial codes may be generated at the level of working memory when number (or other) representations are coordinated in function of a specific task. The aim of the current paper is twofold. First, whereas a pure Mental Number Line account cannot capture the complexity of observations reported in the literature, we here explore if and how a pure working memory account can suffice. Second, we make explicit (more than in our earlier work) the potential building blocks of such a working memory account, thereby providing clear and concrete foci for empirical efforts to test the feasibility of the account. PMID:27445937
Cooper, Freya E.; Grube, Manon; Von Kriegstein, Katharina; Kumar, Sukhbinder; English, Philip; Kelly, Thomas P.; Chinnery, Patrick F.; Griffiths, Timothy D.
A role for the cerebellum in cognition has been proposed based on studies suggesting a profile of cognitive deficits due to cerebellar stroke. Such studies are limited in the determination of the detailed organisation of cerebellar subregions that are critical for different aspects of cognition. In this study we examined the correlation between cognitive performance and cerebellar integrity in a specific degeneration of the cerebellar cortex: Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 6 (SCA6). The results demonstrate a critical relationship between verbal working memory and grey matter density in superior (bilateral lobules VI and crus I of lobule VII) and inferior (bilateral lobules VIIIa and VIIIb, and right lobule IX) parts of the cerebellum. We demonstrate that distinct cerebellar regions subserve different components of the prevalent psychological model for verbal working memory based on a phonological loop. The work confirms the involvement of the cerebellum in verbal working memory and defines specific subsystems for this within the cerebellum. PMID:22133495
Roffman, Joshua L.; Tanner, Alexandra S.; Eryilmaz, Hamdi; Rodriguez-Thompson, Anais; Silverstein, Noah J.; Ho, New Fei; Nitenson, Adam Z.; Chonde, Daniel B.; Greve, Douglas N.; Abi-Dargham, Anissa; Buckner, Randy L.; Manoach, Dara S.; Rosen, Bruce R.; Hooker, Jacob M.; Catana, Ciprian
Local prefrontal dopamine signaling supports working memory by tuning pyramidal neurons to task-relevant stimuli. Enabled by simultaneous positron emission tomography–magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI), we determined whether neuromodulatory effects of dopamine scale to the level of cortical networks and coordinate their interplay during working memory. Among network territories, mean cortical D1 receptor densities differed substantially but were strongly interrelated, suggesting cross-network regulation. Indeed, mean cortical D1 density predicted working memory–emergent decoupling of the frontoparietal and default networks, which respectively manage task-related and internal stimuli. In contrast, striatal D1 predicted opposing effects within these two networks but no between-network effects. These findings specifically link cortical dopamine signaling to network crosstalk that redirects cognitive resources to working memory, echoing neuromodulatory effects of D1 signaling on the level of cortical microcircuits. PMID:27386561
Demoulin, Catherine; Kolinsky, Régine
Many experimental studies have investigated the relationship between the acquisition of reading and working memory in a unidirectional way, attempting to determine to what extent individual differences in working memory can predict reading achievement. In contrast, very little attention has been dedicated to the converse possibility that learning to read shapes the development of verbal memory processes. In this paper, we present available evidence that advocates a more prominent role for reading acquisition on verbal working memory and then discuss the potential mechanisms of such literacy effects. First, the early decoding activities might bolster the development of subvocal rehearsal, which, in turn, would enhance serial order performance in immediate memory tasks. In addition, learning to read and write in an alphabetical system allows the emergence of phonemic awareness and finely tuned phonological representations, as well as of orthographic representations. This could improve the quality, strength, and precision of lexical representations, and hence offer better support for the temporary encoding of memory items and/or for their retrieval.
Thaler, Avner; Helmich, Rick C; Or-Borichev, Ayelet; van Nuenen, Bart F L; Shapira-Lichter, Irit; Gurevich, Tanya; Orr-Urtreger, Avi; Marder, Karen; Bressman, Susan; Bloem, Bastiaan R; Giladi, Nir; Hendler, Talma; Mirelman, Anat
Cognitive impairments are prevalent in patients with Parkinson's disease. Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are the most common cause of genetic Parkinsonism. Non-manifesting carriers of the G2019S mutation in the LRRK2 gene were found to have lower executive functions as measured by the Stroop task. This exploratory study aimed to assess whether the cognitive impairment in non-manifesting carriers is specific for executive functions or includes other cognitive domains such as working memory. We recruited 77 non-manifesting first-degree relatives of Parkinson's disease patients (38 carriers). A block-design fMRI N-back task, with 0-back, 2-back and 3-back conditions, was used in order to assess working memory. Participants were well matched on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale part III, digit span, age, gender and Beck Depression Inventory. The task achieved the overall expected effect in both groups with longer reaction times and lower accuracy rates with increasing task demands. However, no whole-brain or region-of-interest between-groups differences were found on any of the task conditions. These results indicate that non-manifesting carriers of the G2019S mutation in the LRRK2 gene have a specific cognitive profile with executive functions, as assessed by the Stroop task, demonstrating significant impairment but with working memory, as assessed with the N-back task, remaining relatively intact. These finding shed light on the pre-motor cognitive changes in this unique 'at risk' population and should enable more focused cognitive assessments of these cohorts.
Sala-Llonch, Roser; Palacios, Eva M.; Junqué, Carme; Bargalló, Núria; Vendrell, Pere
Neural correlates of working memory (WM) in healthy subjects have been extensively investigated using functional MRI (fMRI). However it still remains unclear how cortical areas forming part of functional WM networks are also connected by white matter fiber bundles, and whether DTI measures, used as indices of microstructural properties and directionality of these connections, can predict individual differences in task performance. fMRI data were obtained from 23 healthy young subjects while performing one visuospatial (square location) and one visuoperceptual (face identification) 2-back task. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were also acquired. We used independent component analysis (ICA) of fMRI data to identify the main functional networks involved in WM tasks. Voxel-wise DTI analyses were performed to find correlations between structural white matter and task performance measures, and probabilistic tracking of DTI data was used to identify the white matter bundles connecting the nodes of the functional networks. We found that functional recruitment of the fusiform and the inferior frontal cortex was specific for the visuoperceptual working memory task, while there was a high overlap in brain activity maps in parietal and middle frontal areas for both tasks. Axial diffusivity and fractional anisotropy, of the tracts connecting the fusiform with the inferior frontal areas correlated with processing speed in the visuoperceptual working memory task. Although our findings need to be considered as exploratory, we conclude that both tasks share a highly-overlapping pattern of activity in areas of frontal and parietal lobes with the only differences in activation between tasks located in the fusiform and inferior frontal regions for the visuoperceptual task. Moreover, we have found that the DTI measures are predictive of the processing speed. PMID:26124716
Oosterman, Joukje M; Morel, Sascha; Meijer, Lisette; Buvens, Cléo; Kessels, Roy P C; Postma, Albert
The present study was intended to compare age effects on visual and spatial working memory by using two versions of the same task that differed only in presentation mode. The working memory task contained both a simultaneous and a sequential presentation mode condition, reflecting, respectively, visual and spatial working memory processes. Young and older participants had to remember the locations of five equal objects under three different conditions: a baseline (immediate recall), a maintenance (including a delay of 5 seconds), and a manipulation (e.g., relocate all objects one column to the right) condition. Only older adults performed worse on the sequential compared to the simultaneous baseline condition and only this group revealed lower performance on the sequential delay compared to the simultaneous delay condition. However, in both groups the manipulation condition affected performance on the simultaneous and sequential presentation modes to the same extent. The findings of this study therefore partially support an age-related differentiation between visual and spatial working memory, with a stronger age effect on spatial than on visual working memory.
Thompson, Todd W; Waskom, Michael L; Garel, Keri-Lee A; Cardenas-Iniguez, Carlos; Reynolds, Gretchen O; Winter, Rebecca; Chang, Patricia; Pollard, Kiersten; Lala, Nupur; Alvarez, George A; Gabrieli, John D E
Fluid intelligence is important for successful functioning in the modern world, but much evidence suggests that fluid intelligence is largely immutable after childhood. Recently, however, researchers have reported gains in fluid intelligence after multiple sessions of adaptive working memory training in adults. The current study attempted to replicate and expand those results by administering a broad assessment of cognitive abilities and personality traits to young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive dual n-back working memory training program and comparing their post-training performance on those tests to a matched set of young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive attentional tracking program. Pre- and post-training measurements of fluid intelligence, standardized intelligence tests, speed of processing, reading skills, and other tests of working memory were assessed. Both training groups exhibited substantial and specific improvements on the trained tasks that persisted for at least 6 months post-training, but no transfer of improvement was observed to any of the non-trained measurements when compared to a third untrained group serving as a passive control. These findings fail to support the idea that adaptive working memory training in healthy young adults enhances working memory capacity in non-trained tasks, fluid intelligence, or other measures of cognitive abilities.
Thompson, Todd W.; Waskom, Michael L.; Garel, Keri-Lee A.; Cardenas-Iniguez, Carlos; Reynolds, Gretchen O.; Winter, Rebecca; Chang, Patricia; Pollard, Kiersten; Lala, Nupur; Alvarez, George A.; Gabrieli, John D. E.
Fluid intelligence is important for successful functioning in the modern world, but much evidence suggests that fluid intelligence is largely immutable after childhood. Recently, however, researchers have reported gains in fluid intelligence after multiple sessions of adaptive working memory training in adults. The current study attempted to replicate and expand those results by administering a broad assessment of cognitive abilities and personality traits to young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive dual n-back working memory training program and comparing their post-training performance on those tests to a matched set of young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive attentional tracking program. Pre- and post-training measurements of fluid intelligence, standardized intelligence tests, speed of processing, reading skills, and other tests of working memory were assessed. Both training groups exhibited substantial and specific improvements on the trained tasks that persisted for at least 6 months post-training, but no transfer of improvement was observed to any of the non-trained measurements when compared to a third untrained group serving as a passive control. These findings fail to support the idea that adaptive working memory training in healthy young adults enhances working memory capacity in non-trained tasks, fluid intelligence, or other measures of cognitive abilities. PMID:23717453
Shipstead, Zach; Harrison, Tyler L; Engle, Randall W
Working memory capacity and fluid intelligence have been demonstrated to be strongly correlated traits. Typically, high working memory capacity is believed to facilitate reasoning through accurate maintenance of relevant information. In this article, we present a proposal reframing this issue, such that tests of working memory capacity and fluid intelligence are seen as measuring complementary processes that facilitate complex cognition. Respectively, these are the ability to maintain access to critical information and the ability to disengage from or block outdated information. In the realm of problem solving, high working memory capacity allows a person to represent and maintain a problem accurately and stably, so that hypothesis testing can be conducted. However, as hypotheses are disproven or become untenable, disengaging from outdated problem solving attempts becomes important so that new hypotheses can be generated and tested. From this perspective, the strong correlation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence is due not to one ability having a causal influence on the other but to separate attention-demanding mental functions that can be contrary to one another but are organized around top-down processing goals.
Engel de Abreu, Pascale M J
This research investigates whether early childhood bilingualism affects working memory performance in 6- to 8-year-olds, followed over a longitudinal period of 3 years. The study tests the hypothesis that bilinguals might exhibit more efficient working memory abilities than monolinguals, potentially via the opportunity a bilingual environment provides to train cognitive control by combating interference and intrusions from the non-target language. A total of 44 bilingual and monolingual children, matched on age, sex, and socioeconomic status, completed assessments of working memory (simple span and complex span tasks), fluid intelligence, and language (vocabulary and syntax). The data showed that the monolinguals performed significantly better on the language measures across the years, whereas no language group effect emerged on the working memory and fluid intelligence tasks after verbal abilities were considered. The study suggests that the need to manage several language systems in the bilingual mind has an impact on children's language skills while having little effects on the development of working memory.
Wang, Benchi; Cao, Xiaohua; Theeuwes, Jan; Olivers, Christian N. L.; Wang, Zhiguo
Recent empirical and theoretical work suggests that visual features such as color and orientation can be stored or retrieved independently in visual working memory (VWM), even in cases when they belong to the same object. Yet it remains unclear whether different feature dimensions have their own capacity limits, or whether they compete for shared…
Lee, Sang Ah; Tucci, Valter; Sovrano, Valeria Anna; Vallortigara, Giorgio
Researchers in spatial cognition have debated for decades the specificity of the mechanisms through which spatial information is processed and stored. Interestingly, although rodents are the preferred animal model for studying spatial navigation, the behavioral methods traditionally used to assess spatial memory do not effectively test the predictions of specificity in their representation. To address such issues, the present study tested the ability of mice to use boundary geometry and features to remember a goal location across 2 types of tasks--a working memory task with a changing goal location, and a reference memory task with 1 rewarded goal location. We show for the first time that mice, like other animals, can successfully encode boundary geometry in a working memory spatial mapping task, just as they do in a reference memory task. Their use of a nongeometric featural cue (striped pattern), in contrast, was more limited in the working memory task, although it quickly improved in the reference memory task. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research on the neural and genetic underpinnings of spatial representations.
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Rosell, Daniel R; Zaluda, Lauren C; McClure, Margaret M; Perez-Rodriguez, M Mercedes; Strike, K Sloan; Barch, Deanna M; Harvey, Philip D; Girgis, Ragy R; Hazlett, Erin A; Mailman, Richard B; Abi-Dargham, Anissa; Lieberman, Jeffrey A; Siever, Larry J
Pharmacological enhancement of prefrontal D1 dopamine receptor function remains a promising therapeutic approach to ameliorate schizophrenia-spectrum working memory deficits, but has yet to be rigorously evaluated clinically. This proof-of-principle study sought to determine whether the active enantiomer of the selective and full D1 receptor agonist dihydrexidine (DAR-0100A) could attenuate working memory impairments in unmedicated patients with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of DAR-0100A (15 mg/150 ml of normal saline administered intravenously over 30 min) in medication-free patients with SPD (n=16) who met the criteria for cognitive impairment (ie, scoring below the 25th percentile on tests of working memory). We employed two measures of verbal working memory that are salient to schizophrenia-spectrum cognitive deficits, and that clinical data implicate as being associated with prefrontal D1 availability: (1) the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT); and (2) the N-back test (ratio of 2-back:0-back scores). Study procedures occurred over four consecutive days, with working memory testing on Days 1 and 4, and DAR-0100A/placebo administration on Days 2-4. Treatment with DAR-0100A was associated with significantly improved PASAT performance relative to placebo, with a very large effect size (Cohen's d=1.14). Performance on the N-back ratio was also significantly improved; however, this effect rested on both a non-significant enhancement and diminution of 2-back and 0-back performance, respectively; therefore interpretation of this finding is more complicated. DAR-0100A was generally well tolerated, with no serious medical or psychiatric adverse events; common side effects were mild to moderate and transient, consisting mainly of sedation, lightheadedness, tachycardia, and hypotension; however, we were able to minimize these effects, without altering the dose, with supportive
Della Sala, S; Logie, R H; Marchetti, C; Wynn, V
Patterns of cognitive deficit in single neuropsychological cases are common sources of evidence for theories of normal cognition. In particular, the working memory model has benefited from data obtained from a number of contrasting patients, in some cases resulting in modifications of the working memory model. In this paper, patterns of data from short-term memory patients and anarthric patients are compared with patterns of data from normal subjects. The patterns of patient data that were unlike those patterns typically found for groups of normal subjects, could be incorporated within a modified version of the articulatory loop component of the working memory model. However a small number of individual normal subjects also did not show the pattern that is reported on the basis of average performance of groups of normal subjects. This causes some difficulty in interpreting those data from such 'aberrant normal' patterns, and those data from single patients with functional cognitive deficits. The implications of these findings for the interpretation of neuropsychological data are discussed in the context of the working memory model, but with the intention of making a general point pertaining to the development of functional models of cognition. It is argued that single case studies should continue to provide a useful source of evidence, providing that care is exercised in considering the implications of such data for models of normal cognition.
Hayden, Benjamin Y.; Gallant, Jack L.
Recognizing and responding to a remembered stimulus requires the coordination of perception, working memory, and decision-making. To investigate the role of visual cortex in these processes, we recorded responses of single V4 neurons during performance of a delayed match-to-sample task that incorporates rapid serial visual presentation of natural images. We found that neuronal activity during the delay period after the cue but before the images depends on the identity of the remembered image and that this change persists while distractors appear. This persistent response modulation has been identified as a diagnostic criterion for putative working memory signals; our data thus suggest that working memory may involve reactivation of sensory neurons. When the remembered image reappears in the neuron’s receptive field, visually evoked responses are enhanced; this match enhancement is a diagnostic criterion for decision. One model that predicts these data is the matched filter hypothesis, which holds that during search V4 neurons change their tuning so as to match the remembered cue, and thus become detectors for that image. More generally, these results suggest that V4 neurons participate in the perceptual, working memory, and decision processes that are needed to perform memory-guided decision-making. PMID:23550043
Fassihi, Arash; Akrami, Athena; Esmaeili, Vahid; Diamond, Mathew E.
Primates can store sensory stimulus parameters in working memory for subsequent manipulation, but until now, there has been no demonstration of this capacity in rodents. Here we report tactile working memory in rats. Each stimulus is a vibration, generated as a series of velocity values sampled from a normal distribution. To perform the task, the rat positions its whiskers to receive two such stimuli, “base” and “comparison,” separated by a variable delay. It then judges which stimulus had greater velocity SD. In analogous experiments, humans compare two vibratory stimuli on the fingertip. We demonstrate that the ability of rats to hold base stimulus information (for up to 8 s) and their acuity in assessing stimulus differences overlap the performance demonstrated by humans. This experiment highlights the ability of rats to perceive the statistical structure of vibrations and reveals their previously unknown capacity to store sensory information in working memory. PMID:24449850
Fassihi, Arash; Akrami, Athena; Esmaeili, Vahid; Diamond, Mathew E
Primates can store sensory stimulus parameters in working memory for subsequent manipulation, but until now, there has been no demonstration of this capacity in rodents. Here we report tactile working memory in rats. Each stimulus is a vibration, generated as a series of velocity values sampled from a normal distribution. To perform the task, the rat positions its whiskers to receive two such stimuli, "base" and "comparison," separated by a variable delay. It then judges which stimulus had greater velocity SD. In analogous experiments, humans compare two vibratory stimuli on the fingertip. We demonstrate that the ability of rats to hold base stimulus information (for up to 8 s) and their acuity in assessing stimulus differences overlap the performance demonstrated by humans. This experiment highlights the ability of rats to perceive the statistical structure of vibrations and reveals their previously unknown capacity to store sensory information in working memory.
Veenstra, Amy L; Riley, Jeffrey D; Barrett, Lauren E; Muhonen, Michael G; Zupanc, Mary; Romain, Jonathan E; Lin, Jack J; Mucci, Grace
Impairments in executive skills broadly span across multiple childhood epilepsy syndromes and can adversely affect quality of life. Bilingualism has been previously shown to correlate with enhanced executive functioning in healthy individuals. This study sought to determine whether the bilingual advantage in executive functioning exists in the context of pediatric epilepsy. We retrospectively analyzed neuropsychological data in 52 children with epilepsy and compared executive function scores in monolingual versus bilingual children with epilepsy while controlling for socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Bilingual children performed significantly better on the Working Memory Index than did monolingual children. There were no significant differences on the remaining executive function variables. The bilingual advantage appears to persist for working memory in children with epilepsy. These findings suggest that bilingualism is potentially a protective variable in the face of epilepsy-related working memory dysfunction.
Evans, William S.; Caplan, David; Ostrowski, Adam; Michaud, Jennifer; Guarino, Anthony; Waters, Gloria
Two hundred participants, 50 in each of four age ranges (19 – 29; 30 – 49, 50 – 69, 70 – 90) were tested for short term working memory, speed of processing and on-line processing of three types of sentences in which an initially assigned syntactic structure and/or semantic interpretation had to be revised. Self-paced reading times were longer for the segments which signaled the need for revision, and there were interactions of age and sentence type and of speed of processing and sentence type, but not of working memory and sentence type, on reading times for these segments. The results provide evidence that working memory does not support the processes that revise the structure and interpretation of sentences and discourse. PMID:25485458
Zhou, Xin; Zhu, Dantong; Qi, Xue-Lian; Li, Sihai; King, Samson G.; Salinas, Emilio; Stanford, Terrence R.; Constantinidis, Christos
Working memory ability matures after puberty, in parallel with structural changes in the prefrontal cortex, but little is known about how changes in prefrontal neuronal activity mediate this cognitive improvement in primates. To address this issue, we compare behavioural performance and neurophysiological activity in monkeys as they transitioned from puberty into adulthood. Here we report that monkeys perform working memory tasks reliably during puberty and show modest improvement in adulthood. The adult prefrontal cortex is characterized by increased activity during the delay period of the task but no change in the representation of stimuli. Activity evoked by distracting stimuli also decreases in the adult prefrontal cortex. The increase in delay period activity relative to the baseline activity of prefrontal neurons is the best correlate of maturation and is not merely a consequence of improved performance. Our results reveal neural correlates of the working memory improvement typical of primate adolescence. PMID:27827365
Tsujii, Takeo; Yamamoto, Eriko; Masuda, Sayako; Watanabe, Shigeru
This study longitudinally compared activity in the frontal cortex during a spatial working memory task between 5-year-old and 7-year-old children using near-infrared spectroscopy. Eight children participated in this study twice, once at 5 years and once at 7 years of age. Behavioral analysis showed that older children performed the working memory task more precisely and more rapidly than younger children. Near-infrared spectroscopy analysis showed that right hemisphere dominance was observed in older children, whereas no hemispheric difference was apparent in younger children. Children with strengthened lateralization showed improved performance from 5 to 7 years. We therefore offer the first demonstration of the developmental changes in frontal cortical activation during spatial working memory tasks during the preschool period.
Auksztulewicz, Ryszard; Spitzer, Bernhard; Goltz, Dominique; Blankenburg, Felix
Numerous studies in animals and humans have related central aspects of somatosensory working memory function to neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). However, as previous studies have almost exclusively used correlational analyses, the question whether sustained neural activity in the IFG is causally involved in successful maintenance of somatosensory information remains unanswered. We used an online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol to disrupt neuronal activity in the IFG while participants were maintaining tactile information throughout the delay for later comparison against a probe stimulus. rTMS impaired participants' performance in the working memory task, but not in a physically matched perceptual control task. Targeting the IFG in either hemisphere led to comparable working memory impairment. Our results show that the neural activity in the IFG plays a causal role in successful maintenance of somatosensory information.
Osaka, Mariko; Yaoi, Ken; Minamoto, Takehiro; Osaka, Naoyuki
The present study investigated when emotion modulates working memory from the perspective of neural activation. Using fMRI, we measured brain activity during the encoding and retrieval phases of a reading span test (RST) that used emotional contexts. The emotional RST required participants to read sentences that elicited negative, neural or positive emotional states while they were memorizing target words from the sentences. Compared with the neutral RST, the negative RST activated the right amygdala during the reading phase. Significant activation was also found in the parahippocampal gyrus, albeit only after activation of the amygdala became comparable to that in the neutral RST. In contrast, the positive RST activated the substantia nigra during the reading phase relative to the neutral RST. These findings suggest that negative and positive emotions modulate working memory through distinctive neural circuits. We also discuss possible relationships between emotional modulation and working memory capacity.
Cowan, Nelson; Ricker, Timothy J.; Clark, Katherine M.; Hinrichs, Garrett A.; Glass, Bret A.
According to some views of cognitive growth, the development of working memory capacity can account for increases in the complexity of cognition. It has been difficult to ascertain, though, that there actually is developmental growth in capacity that cannot be attributed to other developing factors. Here we assess the role of item familiarity. We document developmental increases in working memory for visual arrays of English letters versus unfamiliar characters. Although letter knowledge played a special role in development between the ages of 6 to 8 years, children with adequate letter knowledge showed practically the same developmental growth in normalized functions for letters and unfamiliar characters. The results contribute to a growing body of evidence that the developmental improvement in working memory does not wholly stem from supporting processes such as encoding, mnemonic strategies, and knowledge. PMID:24942111
Veenstra, Amy L.; Riley, Jeffrey D.; Barrett, Lauren E.; Muhonen, Michael G.; Zupanc, Mary; Romain, Jonathan E.; Lin, Jack J.; Mucci, Grace
Impairments in executive skills broadly span across multiple childhood epilepsy syndromes and can adversely affect quality of life. Bilingualism has been previously shown to correlate with enhanced executive functioning in healthy individuals. This study seeks to determine whether the bilingual advantage in executive functioning exists in the context of pediatric epilepsy. We retrospectively analyzed neuropsychological data in 52 children with epilepsy and compared executive function scores in monolingual versus bilingual children with epilepsy, while controlling for socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Bilingual children performed significantly better on the Working Memory scale than did monolingual children. There were no significant differences on the remaining executive function variables. The bilingual advantage appears to persist for working memory in children with epilepsy. These findings suggest that bilingualism is potentially a protective variable in the face of epilepsy-related working memory dysfunction. PMID:26720703
Ackerman, Phillip L; Beier, Margaret E; Boyle, Mary O
Several investigators have claimed over the past decade that working memory (WM) and general intelligence (g) are identical, or nearly identical, constructs, from an individual-differences perspective. Although memory measures are commonly included in intelligence tests, and memory abilities are included in theories of intelligence, the identity between WM and intelligence has not been evaluated comprehensively. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 86 samples that relate WM to intelligence. The average correlation between true-score estimates of WM and g is substantially less than unity (p=.479). The authors also focus on the distinction between short-term memory and WM with respect to intelligence with a supplemental meta-analysis. The authors discuss how consideration of psychometric and theoretical perspectives better informs the discussion of WM-intelligence relations.
Balderston, Nicholas L; Quispe-Escudero, David; Hale, Elizabeth; Davis, Andrew; O'Connell, Katherine; Ernst, Monique; Grillon, Christian
According to the attentional control theory (ACT) proposed by Eysenck and colleagues, anxiety interferes with cognitive processing by prioritizing bottom-up attentional processes over top-down attentional processes, leading to competition for access to limited resources in working memory, particularly the central executive (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, ). However, previous research using the n-back working memory task suggests that working memory load also reduces state anxiety. Assuming that similar mechanisms underlie the effect of anxiety on cognition, and the effect of cognition on anxiety, one possible implication of the ACT would suggest that the reduction of state anxiety with increasing working memory load is driven by activation of central executive attentional control processes. We tested this hypothesis using the Sternberg working memory paradigm, where maintenance processes can be isolated from central executive processes (Altamura et al., ; Sternberg, ). Consistent with the n-back results, subjects showed decreased state anxiety during the maintenance period of high-load trials relative to low-load trials, suggesting that maintenance processes alone are sufficient to achieve this state anxiety reduction. Given that the Sternberg task does not require central executive engagement, these results are not consistent with an implication of the ACT where the cognition/anxiety relationship and anxiety/cognition relationship are mediated by similar central executive mechanisms. Instead, we propose an extension of the ACT such that engaging working memory maintenance suppresses state anxiety in a load-dependent manner. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the efficacy of this effect may moderate the effect of trait anxiety on cognition.
Pulopulos, Matias M; Hidalgo, Vanesa; Almela, Mercedes; Puig-Perez, Sara; Villada, Carolina; Salvador, Alicia
Several studies have shown that acute stress affects working memory (WM) in young adults, but the effect in older people is understudied. As observed in other types of memory, older people may be less sensitive to acute effects of stress on WM. We performed two independent studies with healthy older men and women (from 55 to 77 years old) to investigate the effects of acute stress (Trier Social Stress Test; TSST) and cortisol on WM. In study 1 (n = 63), after the TSST women (but not men) improved their performance on Digit Span Forward (a measure of the memory span component of WM) but not on Digit Span Backward (a measure of both memory span and the executive component of WM). Furthermore, in women, cortisol levels at the moment of memory testing showed a positive association with the memory span component of WM before and after the TSST, and with the executive component of WM only before the stress task. In study 2 (n = 76), although participants showed a cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) response to the TSST, stress did not affect performance on Letter-Number Sequencing (LNS; a task that places a high demand on the executive component of WM). Cortisol and sAA were not associated with WM. The results indicate that circulating cortisol levels at the moment of memory testing, and not the stress response, affect memory span in older women, and that stress and the increase in cortisol levels after stress do not affect the executive component of WM in older men and women. This study provides further evidence that older people may be less sensitive to stress and stress-induced cortisol response effects on memory processes.
Ma, Xiaofei; Huang, Xiaolin; Ge, Yun; Hu, Yueming; Chen, Wei; Liu, Aili; Liu, Hongxing; Chen, Ying; Li, Bin; Ning, Xinbao
Brain connectivity analysis plays an essential role in the research of working memory that involves complex coordination of various brain regions. In this research, we present a comprehensive view of trans-states brain connectivity variation based on continuous scalp EEG, extending beyond traditional stimuli-lock averaging or restriction to short time scales of hundreds of milliseconds after stimulus onset. The scalp EEG was collected under three conditions: quiet, memory, and control. The only difference between the memory and control conditions was that in the memory condition, subjects made an effort to retain information. We started our investigation with calibrations of Pearson correlation in EEG analysis and then derived two indices, link strength and node connectivity, to make comparisons between different states. Finally, we constructed and studied trans-state brain connectivity variation topography. Comparing memory and control states with quiet state, we found that the beta topography highlights links between T5/T6 and O1/O2, which represents the visual ventral stream, and the gamma topography conveys strengthening of inter-hemisphere links and weakening of intra-hemisphere frontal-posterior links, implying parallel inter-hemisphere coordination combined with sequential intra-hemisphere coordination when subjects are confronted with visual stimuli and a motor task. For comparison between memory and control states, we also found that the node connectivity of T6 stands out in gamma topography, which provides strong proof from scalp EEG for the information binding or relational processing function of the temporal lobe in memory formation. To our knowledge, this is the first time for any method to effectively capture brain connectivity variation associated with working memory from a relatively large scale both in time (from a second to a minute) and in space (from the scalp). The method can track brain activity continuously with minimal manual interruptions
Ma, Xiaofei; Huang, Xiaolin; Ge, Yun; Hu, Yueming; Chen, Wei; Liu, Aili; Liu, Hongxing; Chen, Ying; Li, Bin; Ning, Xinbao
Brain connectivity analysis plays an essential role in the research of working memory that involves complex coordination of various brain regions. In this research, we present a comprehensive view of trans-states brain connectivity variation based on continuous scalp EEG, extending beyond traditional stimuli-lock averaging or restriction to short time scales of hundreds of milliseconds after stimulus onset. The scalp EEG was collected under three conditions: quiet, memory, and control. The only difference between the memory and control conditions was that in the memory condition, subjects made an effort to retain information. We started our investigation with calibrations of Pearson correlation in EEG analysis and then derived two indices, link strength and node connectivity, to make comparisons between different states. Finally, we constructed and studied trans-state brain connectivity variation topography. Comparing memory and control states with quiet state, we found that the beta topography highlights links between T5/T6 and O1/O2, which represents the visual ventral stream, and the gamma topography conveys strengthening of inter-hemisphere links and weakening of intra-hemisphere frontal-posterior links, implying parallel inter-hemisphere coordination combined with sequential intra-hemisphere coordination when subjects are confronted with visual stimuli and a motor task. For comparison between memory and control states, we also found that the node connectivity of T6 stands out in gamma topography, which provides strong proof from scalp EEG for the information binding or relational processing function of the temporal lobe in memory formation. To our knowledge, this is the first time for any method to effectively capture brain connectivity variation associated with working memory from a relatively large scale both in time (from a second to a minute) and in space (from the scalp). The method can track brain activity continuously with minimal manual interruptions
Suchow, Jordan W; Brady, Timothy F; Fougnie, Daryl; Alvarez, George A
The MemToolbox is a collection of MATLAB functions for modeling visual working memory. In support of its goal to provide a full suite of data analysis tools, the toolbox includes implementations of popular models of visual working memory, real and simulated data sets, Bayesian and maximum likelihood estimation procedures for fitting models to data, visualizations of data and fit, validation routines, model comparison metrics, and experiment scripts. The MemToolbox is released under the permissive BSD license and is available at http://memtoolbox.org.
Metzler-Baddeley, Claudia; Foley, Sonya; Jones, Derek K.
Brain region-specific changes have been demonstrated with a variety of cognitive training interventions. The effect of cognitive training on brain subnetworks in humans, however, remains largely unknown, with studies limited to functional networks. Here, we used a well-established working memory training program and state-of-the art neuroimaging methods in 40 healthy adults (21 females, mean age 26.5 years). Near and far-transfer training effects were assessed using computerized working memory and executive function tasks. Adaptive working memory training led to improvement on (non)trained working memory tasks and generalization to tasks of reasoning and inhibition. Graph theoretical analysis of the structural (white matter) network connectivity (“connectome”) revealed increased global integration within a frontoparietal attention network following adaptive working memory training compared with the nonadaptive group. Furthermore, the impact on the outcome of graph theoretical analyses of different white matter metrics to infer “connection strength” was evaluated. Increased efficiency of the frontoparietal network was best captured when using connection strengths derived from MR metrics that are thought to be more sensitive to differences in myelination (putatively indexed by the [quantitative] longitudinal relaxation rate, R1) than previously used diffusion MRI metrics (fractional anisotropy or fiber-tracking recovered streamlines). Our findings emphasize the critical role of specific microstructural markers in providing important hints toward the mechanisms underpinning training-induced plasticity that may drive working memory improvement in clinical populations. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This is the first study to explore training-induced changes in the structural connectome using a well-controlled design to examine cognitive training with up-to-date neuroimaging methods. We found changes in global integration based on white matter connectivity within a
Marton, Klara; Campanelli, Luca; Farkas, Lajos
Children with primary language impairment (LI) show a deficit in processing different grammatical structures, verb inflections, and syntactically complex sentences among other things (Clahsen–Hansen 1997; Leonard et al. 1997). Cross-linguistic research has shown that the pattern of performance is language-specific. We examined grammatical sensitivity to word order and agreement violations in 50 Hungarian-speaking children with and without LI. The findings suggest a strong association between sensitivity to grammatical violations and working memory capacity. Variations in working memory performance predicted grammatical sensitivity. Hungarian participants with LI exhibited a weakness in detecting both agreement and word order violations. PMID:23440891
Working memory and attention are closely related. Recent research has shown that working memory can be viewed as internally directed attention. Working memory can affect attention in at least two ways. One is the effect of working memory load on attention, and the other is the effect of working memory contents on attention. In the present study, an interaction between working memory contents and perceptual load in distractor processing was investigated. Participants performed a perceptual load task in a standard form in one condition (Single task). In the other condition, a response-related distractor was maintained in working memory, rather than presented in the same stimulus display as a target (Dual task). For the Dual task condition, a significant compatibility effect was found under high perceptual load; however, there was no compatibility effect under low perceptual load. These results suggest that the way the contents of working memory affect visual search depends on perceptual load.
Deater-Deckard, Kirby; Sewell, Michael D; Petrill, Stephen A; Thompson, Lee A
We examined the role of working memory in observed reactive parenting in a sample of 216 mothers and their same-sex twin children. The mothers and their children were observed completing two frustrating cooperation tasks during a visit to the home. The mothers worked one-on-one with each child separately. Mothers completed the Vocabulary (verbal), Block Design (spatial), and Digit Span (working memory) subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition. We used a within-family quasi-experimental design to estimate the magnitude of the association between sibling differences in observed challenging behaviors (i.e., opposition and distractibility) and the difference in the mother's negativity toward each child. As hypothesized, reactive negativity was evident only among mothers with poorer working memory. Verbal and spatial ability did not show this moderating effect. The effect was replicated in a post hoc secondary data analysis of a sample of adoptive mothers and sibling children. Results implicate working memory in the etiology of harsh reactive parenting.
Henderson, Amy; Kim, Hana; Kintz, Stephen; Frisco, Nicole; Wright, Heather Harris
Evidence suggests that persons with aphasia (PWAs) present with working memory impairments that affect a variety of language tasks. Most of these studies have focused on the phonological loop component of working memory and little attention has been paid to the episodic buffer component. The episodic buffer, as a limited capacity, multimodal system that binds and integrates information from the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, and long-term memory would likely be involved in discourse processing. The purposes of this article were to (1) review discourse level deficits associated with aphasia, (2) describe how a deficit at the level of the episodic buffer could cause such deficits, (3) to review discourse treatment approaches for PWAs, and (4) present preliminary results from a novel discourse treatment study for PWAs.
This investigation shows that a working-memory load induced by a memory scanning task has an effect on nonlinear descriptors of the EEG dynamics. The effect was locally specific above the fronto-temporal (right) cortex and it may be described as a reduction in the dimensional complexity of cortical brain activity. The meaning of the effects seems to differ from that of EEG spectral power, which varied with time during the experiment and not with changes in the working-memory load conditions. Behaviorally controlled over- and underload led to increased variance of the dimensional complexity, thus indicating that dimensional complexity correlates more closely with actual performance than with more general descriptions of brain states. Habitual response speed had an effect at the parietal lead, thus indicating that fast responders reduced their dimensional complexity as the task demand increased. In contrast, the slower responders showed no such definite trend.
Bruder, Gerard E.; Alschuler, Daniel M.; Kroppmann, Christopher J.; Fekri, Shiva; Gil, Roberto; Jarskog, Lars F.; Harkavy-Friedman, Jill M.; Goetz, Raymond; Kayser, Jürgen; Wexler, Bruce E.
The heterogeneity of schizophrenia remains an obstacle for understanding its pathophysiology. Studies using a tone discrimination screening test to classify patients have found evidence for two subgroups having either a specific deficit in verbal working memory (WM) or deficits on both verbal and nonverbal memory tests. This study aimed to: (1) replicate in larger samples differences between these subgroups on the word serial position test (WSPT); (2) further evaluate their performance on additional tests of verbal WM, explicit memory, and sustained attention; (3) determine the relation of verbal WM deficits to auditory hallucinations and other symptoms; and (4) examine medication effects. WSPT of verbal WM and tone discrimination performance did not differ between medicated (n=45) and unmedicated (n=38) patients. Patients with schizophrenia who passed the auditory screening test (discriminators, n=60) were compared to those who did not (nondiscriminators, n=23), and healthy controls (n=47). The discriminator subgroup showed poorer verbal WM than controls and a deficit in verbal but not visual memory on Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised, whereas the nondiscriminator subgroup showed overall poorer performance on both verbal and nonverbal tests and a marked deficit in sustained attention. Verbal WM deficits in discriminators on WSPT were correlated with auditory hallucinations but not with negative symptoms. The results are consistent with a verbal memory deficit in a subgroup of schizophrenia having intact auditory perception, which may stem from dysfunction of language-related cortical regions, and a more generalized cognitive deficit in a subgroup having auditory perceptual and attentional dysfunction. PMID:21319926
Yang, Hua; Lu, Jing; Gong, Diankun; Yao, Dezhong
The influence of music on the human brain has continued to attract increasing attention from neuroscientists and musicologists. Currently, tonal music is widely present in people's daily lives; however, atonal music has gradually become an important part of modern music. In this study, we conducted two experiments: the first one tested for differences in perception of distractibility between tonal music and atonal music. The second experiment tested how tonal music and atonal music affect visual working memory by comparing musicians and nonmusicians who were placed in contexts with background tonal music, atonal music, and silence. They were instructed to complete a delay matching memory task. The results show that musicians and nonmusicians have different evaluations of the distractibility of tonal music and atonal music, possibly indicating that long-term training may lead to a higher auditory perception threshold among musicians. For the working memory task, musicians reacted faster than nonmusicians in all background music cases, and musicians took more time to respond in the tonal background music condition than in the other conditions. Therefore, our results suggest that for a visual memory task, background tonal music may occupy more cognitive resources than atonal music or silence for musicians, leaving few resources left for the memory task. Moreover, the musicians outperformed the nonmusicians because of the higher sensitivity to background music, which also needs a further longitudinal study to be confirmed.
Patel, Nilam; Vytal, Katherine; Pavletic, Nevia; Stoodley, Catherine; Pine, Daniel S; Grillon, Christian; Ernst, Monique
Threat induces a state of sustained anxiety that can disrupt cognitive processing, and, reciprocally, cognitive processing can modulate an anxiety response to threat. These effects depend on the level of cognitive engagement, which itself varies as a function of task difficulty. In adults, we recently showed that induced anxiety impaired working memory accuracy at low and medium but not high load. Conversely, increasing the task load reduced the physiological correlates of anxiety (anxiety-potentiated startle). The present work examines such threat-cognition interactions as a function of age. We expected threat to more strongly impact working memory in younger individuals by virtue of putatively restricted cognitive resources and weaker emotion regulation. This was tested by examining the influence of age on the interaction of anxiety and working memory in 25 adolescents (10 to 17 years) and 25 adults (22 to 46 years). Working memory load was manipulated using a verbal n-back task. Anxiety was induced using the threat of an aversive loud scream and measured via eyeblink startle. Findings revealed that, in both age groups, accuracy was lower during threat than safe conditions at low and medium but not high load, and reaction times were faster during threat than safe conditions at high load but did not differ at other loads. Additionally, anxiety-potentiated startle was greater during low and medium than high load. Thus, the interactions of anxiety with working memory appear similar in adolescents and adults. Whether these similarities reflect common neural mechanisms would need to be assessed using functional neuroimaging.
The objective of this paper is to propose a novel approach to enhance working memory (WM) training for mobile devices by using information about the arousal level of a person. By the example of an adaptive n-back task, we combine methodologies from different disciplines to tackle this challenge: mobile learning, affective computing and cognitive…
Cowan, Nelson; Ricker, Timothy J.; Clark, Katherine M.; Hinrichs, Garrett A.; Glass, Bret A.
According to some views of cognitive growth, the development of working memory capacity can account for increases in the complexity of cognition. It has been difficult to ascertain, though, that there actually is developmental growth in capacity that cannot be attributed to other developing factors. Here we assess the role of item familiarity. We…
Luo, Dasen; Chen, Guopeng; Zen, Fanlin; Murray, Bronwyn
Item responses to Digit Span and Letter-Number Sequencing were analyzed to develop a better-refined model of the two working memory tasks using the finite mixture (FM) modeling method. Models with ordinal latent traits were found to better account for the independent sources of the variability in the tasks than those with continuous traits, and…
Colom, Roberto; Rebollo, Irene; Palacios, Antonio; Juan-Espinosa, Manuel; Kyllonen, Patrick C.
This article analyzes if working memory (WM) is especially important to understand "g." WM comprises the functions of focusing attention, conscious rehearsal, and transformation and mental manipulation of information, while "g" reflects the component variance that is common to all tests of ability. The centrality of WM in individual differences in…
Anguera, Joaquin A.; Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia A.; Willingham, Daniel T.; Seidler, Rachael D.
Previous studies of motor learning have described the importance of cognitive processes during the early stages of learning; however, the precise nature of these processes and their neural correlates remains unclear. The present study investigated whether spatial working memory (SWM) contributes to visuomotor adaptation depending on the stage of…
Macizo, P.; Soriano, M. F.; Paredes, N.
We evaluated phonological and visuospatial working memory (WM) in autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children and typically developing children were compared. We used WM tasks that measured phonological and visuospatial WM up to the capacity limit of each children. Overall measures of WM did not show differences between autistic children and…
Wood, Justin N.
Visual working memory (VWM) is widely thought to contain specialized buffers for retaining spatial and object information: a "spatial-object architecture." However, studies of adults, infants, and nonhuman animals show that visual cognition builds on core knowledge systems that retain more specialized representations: (1) spatiotemporal…
Ecker, Ullrich K. H.; Maybery, Murray; Zimmer, Hubert D.
There is ongoing debate concerning the mechanisms of feature binding in working memory. In particular, there is controversy regarding the extent to which these binding processes are automatic. The present article demonstrates that binding mechanisms differ depending on whether the to-be-integrated features are perceived as forming a coherent…
Smith, Jean Louise M.; Sáez, Leilani; Doabler, Christian T.
Students are frequently expected to complete multistep tasks within a range of academic or classroom routines and to do so independently. Students' ability to complete these tasks successfully may vary as a consequence of both their working-memory capacity and the conditions under which they are expected to learn. Crucial features in the design or…
Carretti, B.; Belacchi, C.; Cornoldi, C.
Background: Despite the critical role attributed to working memory (WM) updating for executive functions and fluid intelligence, no research has yet been carried out on its specific role in the vital case of fluid intelligence weakness, represented by individuals with intellectual disability (ID). Furthermore, the relationship between updating and…
Colom, Roberto; Abad, Francisco J.; Quiroga, M. Angeles; Shih, Pei Chun; Flores-Mendoza, Carmen
Working memory and the general factor of intelligence (g) are highly related constructs. However, we still don't know why. Some models support the central role of simple short-term storage, whereas others appeal to executive functions like the control of attention. Nevertheless, the available empirical evidence does not suffice to get an answer,…
Jausovec, Norbert; Jausovec, Ksenija
The main objectives of the study were: to investigate whether training on working memory (WM) could improve fluid intelligence, and to investigate the effects WM training had on neuroelectric (electroencephalography--EEG) and hemodynamic (near-infrared spectroscopy--NIRS) patterns of brain activity. In a parallel group experimental design,…
Juffs, Alan; Harrington, Michael
This article reviews research on working memory (WM) and its use in second language (L2) acquisition research. Recent developments in the model and issues surrounding the operationalization of the construct itself are presented, followed by a discussion of various methods of measuring WM. These methods include word and digit span tasks, reading,…
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oberauer, Klaus
What drives forgetting in working memory? Recent evidence suggests that in a complex-span task in which an irrelevant processing task alternates with presentation of the memoranda, recall declines when the time taken to complete the processing task is extended while holding the time for rehearsal in between processing steps constant (Portrat,…
Jha, Amishi P.; Kiyonaga, Anastasia
Dynamic adjustments in cognitive control are well documented in conflict tasks, wherein competition from irrelevant stimulus attributes intensifies selection demands and leads to subsequent performance benefits. The current study investigated whether mnemonic demands, in a working memory (WM) task, can drive similar online control modifications.…
Soto, David; Wriglesworth, Alice; Bahrami-Balani, Alex; Humphreys, Glyn W.
We show that perceptual sensitivity to visual stimuli can be modulated by matches between the contents of working memory (WM) and stimuli in the visual field. Observers were presented with an object cue (to hold in WM or to merely attend) and subsequently had to identify a brief target presented within a colored shape. The cue could be…
Nagel, Bonnie J.; Herting, Megan M.; Maxwell, Emily C.; Bruno, Richard; Fair, Damien
Adult functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature suggests that a left-right hemispheric dissociation may exist between verbal and spatial working memory (WM), respectively. However, investigation of this type has been obscured by incomparable verbal and spatial WM tasks and/or visual inspection at arbitrary thresholds as means to…
Wright, Heather Harris; Shisler, Rebecca J.
Recently, researchers have suggested that deficits in working memory capacity contribute to language-processing difficulties observed in individuals with aphasia (e.g., I. Caspari, S. Parkinson, L. LaPointe, & R. Katz, 1998; R. A. Downey et al., 2004; N. Friedmann & A. Gvion, 2003; H. H. Wright, M. Newhoff, R. Downey, & S. Austermann, 2003). A…
Baltruschat, Lisa; Hasselhorn, Marcus; Tarbox, Jonathan; Dixon, Dennis R.; Najdowski, Adel C.; Mullins, Ryan D.; Gould, Evelyn R.
Children with autism often struggle with executive function (EF) deficits, particularly with regard to working memory (WM). Despite the documented deficits in these areas, very little controlled research has evaluated treatments for remediation of EF or WM deficits in children with autism. This study examined the use of positive reinforcement for…
Bedard, Anne-Claude; Tannock, Rosemary
Objective: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on components of working memory (WM) in children with ADHD and determine whether MPH produces differential effects on WM in children with comorbid anxiety (ANX). Method: Participants were a clinical sample of 130 children with ADHD, aged 6 to 12 years old (32% comorbid ANX). Each child…
Thomas, Laura E.
Directed actions can play a causal role in cognition, shaping thought processes. What drives this cross-talk between action and thought? I investigated the hypothesis that representations in spatial working memory mediate interactions between directed actions and problem solving. Participants attempted to solve an insight problem while…
Olive, Thierry; Kellogg, Ronald T.; Piolat, Annie
Two experiments examined whether text composition engages verbal, visual, and spatial working memory to different degrees. In Experiment 1, undergraduate students composed by longhand a persuasive text while performing a verbal, visual, or spatial concurrent task that was presented visually. In Experiment 2, participants performed a verbal or…
Schuchardt, Kirsten; Maehler, Claudia; Hasselhorn, Marcus
This article examines working memory functioning in children with specific developmental disorders of scholastic skills as defined by ICD-10. Ninety-seven second to fourth graders with a minimum IQ of 80 are compared using a 2 x 2 factorial (dyscalculia vs. no dyscalculia; dyslexia vs. no dyslexia) design. An extensive test battery assesses the…
Mishra, Sushmit; Lunner, Thomas; Stenfelt, Stefan; Ronnberg, Jerker; Rudner, Mary
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the new Cognitive Spare Capacity Test (CSCT), which measures aspects of working memory capacity for heard speech in the audiovisual and auditory-only modalities of presentation. Method: In Experiment 1, 20 young adults with normal hearing performed the CSCT and an independent battery of…
Oberauer, Klaus; Bialkova, Svetlana
Six young adults practiced for 36 sessions on a working-memory updating task in which 2 digits and 2 spatial positions were continuously updated. Participants either did 1 updating operation at a time, or attempted 1 numerical and 1 spatial operation at the same time. In contrast to previous research using the same paradigm with a single digit and…
Bedard, Anne-Claude; Jain, Umesh; Hogg-Johnson, Sheilah; Tannock, Rosemary
Background: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on components of working memory (WM) in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and determine the responsiveness of WM measures to MPH. Methods: Participants were a clinical sample of 50 children and adolescents with ADHD, aged 6 to 16 years old, who participated in an acute…
Melby-Lervag, Monica; Hulme, Charles
It has been suggested that working memory training programs are effective both as treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other cognitive disorders in children and as a tool to improve cognitive ability and scholastic attainment in typically developing children and adults. However, effects across studies appear to be…
Lechuga, M. Teresa; Pelegrina, Santiago; Pelaez, Jose L.; Martin-Puga, M. Eva; Justicia, M. Jose
There is growing evidence supporting the importance of executive functions, and specifically working memory updating (WMU), for children's academic achievement. This study aimed to assess the specific contribution of updating to the prediction of academic performance. Two updating tasks, which included different updating components, were…
Bunting, Michael F.; Cowan, Nelson
We argue that attention and awareness form the basis of one type of working-memory storage. In contrast to models of working memory in which storage and retrieval occur effortlessly, we document that an attention-demanding goal conflict within a retrieval cue impairs recall from working memory. In a conceptual span task, semantic and color-name cues prompted recall of four consecutive words from a twelve-word list. The first-, middle-, and final-four words belonged to different semantic categories (e.g., body parts, animals, and tools) and were shown in different colors (e.g., red, blue, and green). In Experiment 1, the color of the cue matched that of cued items 75% of the time, and the rare mismatch impaired recall. In Experiment 2, though, the color of the cue matched that of the cued items only 25% of the time, and the now-more-frequent mismatches no longer mattered. These results are difficult to explain with passive storage alone and indicate that a processing difficulty impedes recall from working memory, presumably by distracting attention away from its storage function. PMID:15856289
Simmering, Vanessa R.
The change detection task has been used in dozens of studies with adults to measure visual working memory capacity. Two studies have recently tested children in this task, suggesting a gradual increase in capacity from 5 years to adulthood. These results contrast with findings from an infant looking paradigm suggesting that capacity reaches…
Sanchez, Christopher A.; Wiley, Jennifer; Miura, Timothy K.; Colflesh, Gregory J. H.; Ricks, Travis R.; Jensen, Melinda S.; Conway, Andrew R. A.
The present studies directly test the usefulness of two English-language working memory capacity (WMC) assessments with two samples of students whose native language was not English. Participants completed two widely used complex span tasks, Reading Span (RSpan) and Operation Span (OSpan), in English. To determine whether the well-established…
Vatansever, D; Manktelow, A E; Sahakian, B J; Menon, D K; Stamatakis, E A
Initially identified during no-task, baseline conditions, it has now been suggested that the default mode network (DMN) engages during a variety of working memory paradigms through its flexible interactions with other large-scale brain networks. Nevertheless, its contribution to whole-brain connectivity dynamics across increasing working memory load has not been explicitly assessed. The aim of our study was to determine which DMN hubs relate to working memory task performance during an fMRI-based n-back paradigm with parametric increases in difficulty. Using a voxel-wise metric, termed the intrinsic connectivity contrast (ICC), we found that the bilateral angular gyri (core DMN hubs) displayed the greatest change in global connectivity across three levels of n-back task load. Subsequent seed-based functional connectivity analysis revealed that the angular DMN regions robustly interact with other large-scale brain networks, suggesting a potential involvement in the global integration of information. Further support for this hypothesis comes from the significant correlations we found between angular gyri connectivity and reaction times to correct responses. The implication from our study is that the DMN is actively involved during the n-back task and thus plays an important role related to working memory, with its core angular regions contributing to the changes in global brain connectivity in response to increasing environmental demands. Hum Brain Mapp 38:41-52, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Burnett Heyes, Stephanie; Zokaei, Nahid; van der Staaij, Irene; Bays, Paul M.; Husain, Masud
Visual working memory (VWM) is the facility to hold in mind visual information for brief periods of time. Developmental studies have suggested an increase during childhood in the maximum number of complete items that can simultaneously be stored in VWM. Here, we exploit a recent theoretical and empirical innovation to investigate instead the…
Tirre, William C.; Pena, Carmen M.
Two experiments with approximately 377 newly enlisted Air Force personnel and 182 college students investigated the validity of a reading span test combining a knowledge verification task with a word memorization task. Results support the hypothesis that word recall reflects the amount of working memory functional in reading. (SLD)
Although visual imagery and visual working memory are both defined by the ability to actively represent and manipulate visual information, it is not known whether they rely on common mechanisms. A recent study by Albers and colleagues directly investigates this issue, finding evidence of common internal representations in early visual areas. PMID:23958465
Cowan, Nelson; Blume, Christopher L.; Saults, J. Scott
It has been debated on the basis of change-detection procedures whether visual working memory is limited by the number of objects, task-relevant attributes within those objects, or bindings between attributes. This debate, however, has been hampered by several limitations, including the use of conditions that vary between studies and the absence…
Decker, Janice E.
Brain-based initiatives and school readiness mandates in education have prompted researchers to examine the biological mechanisms associated with learning in the hope that understanding empirical evidence can maximize learning potential. Current research has examined working memory skills in relationship to early learning. The function of working…
The main objective of this study is (a) to explore the relationship among cognitive style (field dependence/independence), working memory, and mathematics anxiety and (b) to examine their effects on students' mathematics problem solving. A sample of 161 school girls (13-14 years old) were tested on (1) the Witkin's cognitive style (Group Embedded…
Huang, Jia; Tan, Shu-ping; Walsh, Sarah C; Spriggens, Lauren K; Neumann, David L; Shum, David H K; Chan, Raymond C K
The current study aimed to examine the contribution of neurocognition and social cognition to components of social problem solving. Sixty-seven inpatients with schizophrenia and 31 healthy controls were administrated batteries of neurocognitive tests, emotion perception tests, and the Chinese Assessment of Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills (CAIPSS). MANOVAs were conducted to investigate the domains in which patients with schizophrenia showed impairments. Correlations were used to determine which impaired domains were associated with social problem solving, and multiple regression analyses were conducted to compare the relative contribution of neurocognitive and social cognitive functioning to components of social problem solving. Compared with healthy controls, patients with schizophrenia performed significantly worse in sustained attention, working memory, negative emotion, intention identification and all components of the CAIPSS. Specifically, sustained attention, working memory and negative emotion identification were found to correlate with social problem solving and 1-back accuracy significantly predicted the poor performance in social problem solving. Among the dysfunctions in schizophrenia, working memory contributed most to deficits in social problem solving in patients with schizophrenia. This finding provides support for targeting working memory in the development of future social problem solving rehabilitation interventions.
De Loof, Esther; Verguts, Tom; Fias, Wim; Van Opstal, Filip
Cognitive theories on consciousness propose a strong link between consciousness and working memory (WM). This link is also present at the neural level: Both consciousness and WM have been implicated in a prefrontal parietal network. However, the link remains empirically unexplored. The present study investigates the relation between consciousness…
Proactive interference (PI) may influence the predictive utility of working memory span tasks. Participants in one experiment (N=70) completed Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) and multiple versions of operation span and probed recall, modified for the type of memoranda (digits or words). Changing memoranda within- or across-trials…
Motor affordances have been shown to play a role in visual object identification and categorization. The present study explored whether working memory is likewise supported by motor affordances. Use of motor affordances should be disrupted by motor interference, and this effect should be larger for objects that have motor affordances than for…
Lee, Kerry; Bull, Rebecca
Children with higher working memory or updating (WMU) capacity perform better in math. What is less clear is whether and how this relation varies with grade. Children (N = 673, kindergarten to Grade 9) participated in a 4-year cross-sequential study. Data from 3 WMU (Listening Recall, Mr. X, and an updating task) and a standardized math task…
Roberts, William A; Macpherson, Krista; Strang, Caroline
The interaction between working and reference memory systems was examined under conditions in which salient contextual cues were presented during memory retrieval. Ambient colored lights (red or green) bathed the operant chamber during the presentation of comparison stimuli in delayed matching-to-sample training (working memory) and during the presentation of the comparison stimuli as S+ and S- cues in discrimination training (reference memory). Strong competition between memory systems appeared when the same contextual cue appeared during working and reference memory training. When different contextual cues were used, however, working memory was completely protected from reference memory interference.
Nijboer, Menno; Borst, Jelmer; van Rijn, Hedderik; Taatgen, Niels
Working memory can be a major source of interference in dual tasking. However, there is no consensus on whether this interference is the result of a single working memory bottleneck, or of interactions between different working memory components that together form a complete working-memory system. We report a behavioral and an fMRI dataset in which working memory requirements are manipulated during multitasking. We show that a computational cognitive model that assumes a distributed version of working memory accounts for both behavioral and neuroimaging data better than a model that takes a more centralized approach. The model's working memory consists of an attentional focus, declarative memory, and a subvocalized rehearsal mechanism. Thus, the data and model favor an account where working memory interference in dual tasking is the result of interactions between different resources that together form a working-memory system.
Voigt, Babett; Mahy, Caitlin E V; Ellis, Judi; Schnitzspahn, Katharina; Krause, Ivonne; Altgassen, Mareike; Kliegel, Matthias
This large-scale study examined the development of time-based prospective memory (PM) across childhood and the roles that working memory updating and time monitoring play in driving age effects in PM performance. One hundred and ninety-seven children aged 5 to 14 years completed a time-based PM task where working memory updating load was manipulated within individuals using a dual task design. Results revealed age-related increases in PM performance across childhood. Working memory updating load had a negative impact on PM performance and monitoring behavior in older children, but this effect was smaller in younger children. Moreover, the frequency as well as the pattern of time monitoring predicted children's PM performance. Our interpretation of these results is that processes involved in children's PM may show a qualitative shift over development from simple, nonstrategic monitoring behavior to more strategic monitoring based on internal temporal models that rely specifically on working memory updating resources. We discuss this interpretation with regard to possible trade-off effects in younger children as well as alternative accounts.
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan E.; Dunning, Darren L.
Working memory plays a crucial role in supporting learning, with poor progress in reading and mathematics characterizing children with low memory skills. This study investigated whether these problems can be overcome by a training program designed to boost working memory. Children with low working memory skills were assessed on measures of working…
Gabig, Cheryl Smith
Purpose: This study examined verbal working memory and language ability in 15 school-age children with autism using 3 verbal working memory tasks and 1 story recall task. Method: Three measures of verbal working memory--nonword repetition, memory for digits span, and sentence imitation--were given to children with autism and age-matched controls.…
Tiggemann, Marika; Kemps, Eva; Parnell, Jasmin
The present study aimed to extend previous research into cognitive impairments as a consequence of food craving. In particular, the study examined the impact of chocolate craving on the three components of working memory: the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the central executive, assessed by the digit span, Corsi blocks, and the double span tasks, respectively. A sample of 96 female undergraduate students was randomly assigned to a craving or control condition. Participants in the craving condition abstained from eating chocolate for 24h prior to testing, and performed the cognitive tasks in the presence of chocolate, a manipulation that successfully elicited chocolate cravings. As predicted on the basis of the visual imagery nature of food cravings, participants in the craving condition performed more poorly on the Corsi blocks task than control participants, but the groups did not differ on the digit span or double span measures. These results indicate that chocolate cravings selectively disrupt performance on visuospatial tasks. According to the working memory model, this occurs because food cravings compete for limited visuospatial working memory resources. These findings have practical implications in that visuospatial memory plays an important role in many everyday behaviours.
Currie, Nicola Kate; Cain, Kate
Inferences are crucial to successful discourse comprehension. We assessed the contributions of vocabulary and working memory to inference making in children aged 5 and 6years (n=44), 7 and 8years (n=43), and 9 and 10years (n=43). Children listened to short narratives and answered questions to assess local and global coherence inferences after each one. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) confirmed developmental improvements on both types of inference. Although standardized measures of both vocabulary and working memory were correlated with inference making, multiple regression analyses determined that vocabulary was the key predictor. For local coherence inferences, only vocabulary predicted unique variance for the 6- and 8-year-olds; in contrast, none of the variables predicted performance for the 10-year-olds. For global coherence inferences, vocabulary was the only unique predictor for each age group. Mediation analysis confirmed that although working memory was associated with the ability to generate local and global coherence inferences in 6- to 10-year-olds, the effect was mediated by vocabulary. We conclude that vocabulary knowledge supports inference making in two ways: through knowledge of word meanings required to generate inferences and through its contribution to memory processes.
Oberauer, Klaus; Awh, Edward; Sutterer, David W.
We report 4 experiments examining whether associations in visual working memory are subject to proactive interference from long-term memory (LTM). Following a long-term learning phase in which participants learned the colors of 120 unique objects, a working memory (WM) test was administered in which participants recalled the precise colors of 3…
Darling, Stephen; Uytman, Clare; Allen, Richard J; Havelka, Jelena; Pearson, David G
Body dissatisfaction (BD) is a highly prevalent feature amongst females in society, with the majority of individuals regarding themselves to be overweight compared to their personal ideal, and very few self-describing as underweight. To date, explanations of this dramatic pattern have centred on extrinsic social and media factors, or intrinsic factors connected to individuals' knowledge and belief structures regarding eating and body shape, with little research examining links between BD and basic cognitive mechanisms. This paper reports a correlational study in which visual and executive cognitive processes that could potentially impact on BD were assessed. Visual memory span and self-rated visual imagery were found to be predictive of BD, alongside a measure of inhibition derived from the Stroop task. In contrast, spatial memory and global precedence were not related to BD. Results are interpreted with reference to the influential multi-component model of working memory.
Leszczyński, Marcin; Fell, Juergen; Axmacher, Nikolai
Working memory (WM) maintenance is assumed to rely on a single sustained process throughout the entire maintenance period. This assumption, although fundamental, has never been tested. We used intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from the human hippocampus in two independent experiments to investigate the neural dynamics underlying WM maintenance. We observed periodic fluctuations between two different oscillatory regimes: Periods of "memory activation" were reflected by load-dependent alpha power reductions and lower levels of cross-frequency coupling (CFC). They occurred interleaved with periods characterized by load-independent high levels of alpha power and CFC. During memory activation periods, a relevant CFC parameter (load-dependent changes of the peak modulated frequency) correlated with individual WM capacity. Fluctuations between these two periods predicted successful performance and were locked to the phase of endogenous delta oscillations. These results show that hippocampal maintenance is a dynamic rather than constant process and depends critically on a hierarchy of oscillations.
Sprague, Thomas C; Ester, Edward F; Serences, John T
Working memory (WM) enables the storage and manipulation of limited amounts of information over short periods. Prominent models posit that increasing the number of remembered items decreases the spiking activity dedicated to each item via mutual inhibition, which irreparably degrades the fidelity of each item's representation. We tested these models by determining if degraded memory representations could be recovered following a post-cue indicating which of several items in spatial WM would be recalled. Using an fMRI-based image reconstruction technique, we identified impaired behavioral performance and degraded mnemonic representations with elevated memory load. However, in several cortical regions, degraded mnemonic representations recovered substantially following a post-cue, and this recovery tracked behavioral performance. These results challenge pure spike-based models of WM and suggest that remembered items are additionally encoded within latent or hidden neural codes that can help reinvigorate active WM representations.
Orsolini, Margherita; Melogno, Sergio; Latini, Nausica; Penge, Roberta; Conforti, Sara
The present case study investigates the effects of a cognitive training of verbal working memory that was proposed for Davide, a 14-year-old boy diagnosed with mild intellectual disability. The program stimulated attention, inhibition, switching, and the ability to engage either in verbal dual tasks or in producing inferences after the content of a short passage had been encoded in episodic memory. Key elements in our program included (1) core training of target cognitive mechanisms; (2) guided practice emphasizing concrete strategies to engage in exercises; and (3) a variable amount of adult support. The study explored whether such a complex program produced “near transfer” effects on an untrained dual task assessing verbal working memory and whether effects on this and other target cognitive mechanisms (i.e., attention, inhibition, and switching) were long-lasting and produced “far transfer” effects on cognitive flexibility. The effects of the intervention program were investigated with a research design consisting of four subsequent phases lasting 8 or 10 weeks, each preceded and followed by testing. There was a control condition (phase 1) in which the boy received, at home, a stimulation focused on the visuospatial domain. Subsequently, there were three experimental training phases, in which stimulation in the verbal domain was first focused on attention and inhibition (phase 2a), then on switching and simple working memory tasks (phase 2b), then on complex working memory tasks (phase 3). A battery of neuropsychological tests was administered before and after each training phase and 7 months after the conclusion of the intervention. The main finding was that Davide changed from being incapable of addressing the dual task request of the listening span test in the initial assessment to performing close to the normal limits of a 13-year-old boy in the follow-up assessment with this test, when he was 15 years old. PMID:26284014
The notion of working memory (WM) was introduced to account for the usage of short-term memory resources by other cognitive tasks such as reasoning, mental arithmetic, language comprehension, and many others. This collaboration between memory and other cognitive tasks can only be achieved by a dedicated WM system that controls task coordination. To that end, WM models include executive control. Nevertheless, other attention control systems may be involved in coordination of memory and cognitive tasks calling on memory resources. The present paper briefly reviews the evidence concerning the role of selective attention in WM activities. A model is proposed in which selective attention control is directly linked to the executive control part of the WM system. The model assumes that apart from storage of declarative information, the system also includes an executive WM module that represents the current task set. Control processes are automatically triggered when particular conditions in these modules are met. As each task set represents the parameter settings and the actions needed to achieve the task goal, it will depend on the specific settings and actions whether selective attention control will have to be shared among the active tasks. Only when such sharing is required, task performance will be affected by the capacity limits of the control system involved. PMID:25152723
Xie, Weizhen; Zhang, Weiwei
Negative emotion impacts a variety of cognitive processes, including working memory (WM). The present study investigated whether negative emotion modulated WM capacity (quantity) or resolution (quality), 2 independent limits on WM storage. In Experiment 1, observers tried to remember several colors over 1-s delay and then recalled the color of a randomly picked memory item by clicking a best-matching color on a continuous color wheel. On each trial, before the visual WM task, 1 of 3 emotion conditions (negative, neutral, or positive) was induced by having observers to rate the valence of an International Affective Picture System image. Visual WM under negative emotion showed enhanced resolution compared with neutral and positive conditions, whereas the number of retained representations was comparable across the 3 emotion conditions. These effects were generalized to closed-contour shapes in Experiment 2. To isolate the locus of these effects, Experiment 3 adopted an iconic memory version of the color recall task by eliminating the 1-s retention interval. No significant change in the quantity or quality of iconic memory was observed, suggesting that the resolution effects in the first 2 experiments were critically dependent on the need to retain memory representations over a short period of time. Taken together, these results suggest that negative emotion selectively boosts visual WM quality, supporting the dissociable nature quantitative and qualitative aspects of visual WM representation. (PsycINFO Database Record
Nicenboim, Bruno; Vasishth, Shravan; Gattei, Carolina; Sigman, Mariano; Kliegl, Reinhold
There is a wealth of evidence showing that increasing the distance between an argument and its head leads to more processing effort, namely, locality effects; these are usually associated with constraints in working memory (DLT: Gibson, 2000; activation-based model: Lewis and Vasishth, 2005). In SOV languages, however, the opposite effect has been found: antilocality (see discussion in Levy et al., 2013). Antilocality effects can be explained by the expectation-based approach as proposed by Levy (2008) or by the activation-based model of sentence processing as proposed by Lewis and Vasishth (2005). We report an eye-tracking and a self-paced reading study with sentences in Spanish together with measures of individual differences to examine the distinction between expectation- and memory-based accounts, and within memory-based accounts the further distinction between DLT and the activation-based model. The experiments show that (i) antilocality effects as predicted by the expectation account appear only for high-capacity readers; (ii) increasing dependency length by interposing material that modifies the head of the dependency (the verb) produces stronger facilitation than increasing dependency length with material that does not modify the head; this is in agreement with the activation-based model but not with the expectation account; and (iii) a possible outcome of memory load on low-capacity readers is the increase in regressive saccades (locality effects as predicted by memory-based accounts) or, surprisingly, a speedup in the self-paced reading task; the latter consistent with good-enough parsing (Ferreira et al., 2002). In sum, the study suggests that individual differences in working memory capacity play a role in dependency resolution, and that some of the aspects of dependency resolution can be best explained with the activation-based model together with a prediction component.
Nicenboim, Bruno; Vasishth, Shravan; Gattei, Carolina; Sigman, Mariano; Kliegl, Reinhold
There is a wealth of evidence showing that increasing the distance between an argument and its head leads to more processing effort, namely, locality effects; these are usually associated with constraints in working memory (DLT: Gibson, 2000; activation-based model: Lewis and Vasishth, 2005). In SOV languages, however, the opposite effect has been found: antilocality (see discussion in Levy et al., 2013). Antilocality effects can be explained by the expectation-based approach as proposed by Levy (2008) or by the activation-based model of sentence processing as proposed by Lewis and Vasishth (2005). We report an eye-tracking and a self-paced reading study with sentences in Spanish together with measures of individual differences to examine the distinction between expectation- and memory-based accounts, and within memory-based accounts the further distinction between DLT and the activation-based model. The experiments show that (i) antilocality effects as predicted by the expectation account appear only for high-capacity readers; (ii) increasing dependency length by interposing material that modifies the head of the dependency (the verb) produces stronger facilitation than increasing dependency length with material that does not modify the head; this is in agreement with the activation-based model but not with the expectation account; and (iii) a possible outcome of memory load on low-capacity readers is the increase in regressive saccades (locality effects as predicted by memory-based accounts) or, surprisingly, a speedup in the self-paced reading task; the latter consistent with good-enough parsing (Ferreira et al., 2002). In sum, the study suggests that individual differences in working memory capacity play a role in dependency resolution, and that some of the aspects of dependency resolution can be best explained with the activation-based model together with a prediction component. PMID:25852623
Liang, Lina; Zhang, Zhikang
Camperi and Wang (Comput Neurosci 5:383–405, 1998) presented a network model for working memory that combines intrinsic cellular bistability with the recurrent network architecture of the neocortex. While Fall and Rinzel (Comput Neurosci 20:97–107, 2006) replaced this intrinsic bistability with a biological mechanism-Ca2+ release subsystem. In this study, we aim to further expand the above work. We integrate the traditional firing-rate network with Ca2+ subsystem-induced bistability, amend the synaptic weights and suggest that Ca2+ concentration only increase the efficacy of synaptic input but has nothing to do with the external input for the transient cue. We found that our network model maintained the persistent activity in response to a brief transient stimulus like that of the previous two models and the working memory performance was resistant to noise and distraction stimulus if Ca2+ subsystem was tuned to be bistable. PMID:22132045
Bledowski, Christoph; Rahm, Benjamin; Rowe, James B
Cognition depends critically on working memory, the active representation of a limited number of items over short periods of time. In addition to the maintenance of information during the course of cognitive processing, many tasks require that some of the items in working memory become transiently more important than others. Based on cognitive models of working memory, we hypothesized two complementary essential cognitive operations to achieve this: a selection operation that retrieves the most relevant item, and an updating operation that changes the focus of attention onto it. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-resolution oculometry, and behavioral analysis, we demonstrate that these two operations are functionally and neuroanatomically dissociated. Updating the attentional focus elicited transient activation in the caudal superior frontal sulcus and posterior parietal cortex. In contrast, increasing demands on selection selectively modulated activation in rostral superior frontal sulcus and posterior cingulate/precuneus. We conclude that prioritizing one memory item over others invokes independent mechanisms of mnemonic retrieval and attentional focusing, each with its distinct neuroanatomical basis within frontal and parietal regions. These support the developing understanding of working memory as emerging from the interaction between memory and attentional systems.
A Long-Term Memory Competitive Process Model of a Common Procedural Error, Part II: Working Memory Load and Capacity Franklin P. Tamborello, II...00-00-2013 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE A Long-Term Memory Competitive Process Model of a Common Procedural Error, Part II: Working Memory Load and...07370024.2011.601692 Tamborello, F. P., & Trafton, J. G. (2013). A long-term competitive process model of a common procedural error. In Proceedings of the 35th
Rabinovich, Mikhail I.; Sokolov, Yury; Kozma, Robert
Psychiatric disorders are often caused by partial heterogeneous disinhibition in cognitive networks, controlling sequential and spatial working memory (SWM). Such dynamic connectivity changes suggest that the normal relationship between the neuronal components within the network deteriorates. As a result, competitive network dynamics is qualitatively altered. This dynamics defines the robust recall of the sequential information from memory and, thus, the SWM capacity. To understand pathological and non-pathological bifurcations of the sequential memory dynamics, here we investigate the model of recurrent inhibitory-excitatory networks with heterogeneous inhibition. We consider the ensemble of units with all-to-all inhibitory connections, in which the connection strengths are monotonically distributed at some interval. Based on computer experiments and studying the Lyapunov exponents, we observed and analyzed the new phenomenon—clustered sequential dynamics. The results are interpreted in the context of the winnerless competition principle. Accordingly, clustered sequential dynamics is represented in the phase space of the model by two weakly interacting quasi-attractors. One of them is similar to the sequential heteroclinic chain—the regular image of SWM, while the other is a quasi-chaotic attractor. Coexistence of these quasi-attractors means that the recall of the normal information sequence is intermittently interrupted by episodes with chaotic dynamics. We indicate potential dynamic ways for augmenting damaged working memory and other cognitive functions. PMID:25452717
Bergmann, Heiko C.; Rijpkema, Mark; Fernández, Guillén; Kessels, Roy P. C.
Background Emotion can either facilitate or impair memory, depending on what, when and how memory is tested and whether the paradigm at hand is administered as a working memory (WM) or a long-term memory (LTM) task. Whereas emotionally arousing single stimuli are more likely to be remembered, memory for the relationship between two or more component parts (i.e., relational memory) appears to be worse in the presence of emotional stimuli, at least in some relational memory tasks. The current study investigated the effects of both valence (neutral vs. positive vs. negative) and arousal (low vs. high) in an inter-item WM binding and LTM task. Methodology/Principal Findings A five-pair delayed-match-to-sample (WM) task was administered. In each trial, study pairs consisted of one neutral picture and a second picture of which the emotional qualities (valence and arousal levels) were manipulated. These pairs had to be remembered across a delay interval of 10 seconds. This was followed by a probe phase in which five pairs were tested. After completion of this task, an unexpected single item LTM task as well as an LTM task for the pairs was assessed. As expected, emotional arousal impaired WM processing. This was reflected in lower accuracy for pairs consisting of high-arousal pictures compared to pairs with low-arousal pictures. A similar effect was found for the associative LTM task. However, the arousal effect was modulated by affective valence for the WM but not the LTM task; pairs with low-arousal negative pictures were not processed as well in the WM task. No significant differences were found for the single-item LTM task. Conclusions/Significance The present study provides additional evidence that processes during initial perception/encoding and post-encoding processes, the time interval between study and test and the interaction between valence and arousal might modulate the effects of “emotion” on associative memory. PMID:23300724
Kreitz, Carina; Furley, Philip; Memmert, Daniel; Simons, Daniel J
Working memory and attention are closely related constructs. Models of working memory often incorporate an attention component, and some even equate working memory and attentional control. Although some attention-related processes, including inhibitory control of response conflict and interference resolution, are strongly associated with working memory, for other aspects of attention the link is less clear. We examined the association between working-memory performance and attentional breadth, the ability to spread attention spatially. If the link between attention and working memory is broader than inhibitory and interference resolution processes, then working-memory performance might also be associated with other attentional abilities, including attentional breadth. We tested 123 participants on a variety of working-memory and attentional-breadth measures, finding a strong correlation between performances on these two types of tasks. This finding demonstrates that the link between working memory and attention extends beyond inhibitory processes.
Koshino, Hideya; Olid, Pilar
The present study investigated interactions between working memory load and perceptual load. The load theory (Lavie, Hirst, de Fockert, & Viding, 2004 ) claims that perceptual load decreases distractor interference, whereas working memory load increases interference. However, recent studies showed that effects of working memory might depend on the relationship between modalities of working memory and task stimuli. Here, we examined whether the relationship between working memory load and perceptual load would remain the same across modalities. The results of Experiment 1 showed that verbal working memory load did not affect a compatibility effect for low perceptual load, whereas it increased the compatibility effect for high perceptual load. In Experiment 2, the compatibility effect remained the same regardless of visual working memory load. These results suggest that the effects of working memory load and perceptual load depend on the relationship between the modalities of working memory and stimuli.
Schlichting, Andreas; Aslan, Alp; Holterman, Christoph; Bäuml, Karl-Heinz T
Selective retrieval of some studied items can both impair and improve recall of the other items. This study examined the role of working memory capacity (WMC) for the two effects of memory retrieval. Participants studied an item list consisting of predefined target and nontarget items. After study of the list, half of the participants performed an imagination task supposed to induce a change in mental context, whereas the other half performed a counting task which does not induce such context change. Following presentation of a second list, memory for the original list's target items was tested, either with or without preceding retrieval of the list's nontarget items. Consistent with previous work, preceding nontarget retrieval impaired target recall in the absence of the context change, but improved target recall in its presence. In particular, there was a positive relationship between WMC and the beneficial, but not the detrimental effect of memory retrieval. On the basis of the view that the beneficial effect of memory retrieval reflects context-reactivation processes, the results indicate that individuals with higher WMC are better able to capitalise on retrieval-induced context reactivation than individuals with lower WMC.
Olivers, Christian N. L.; Meijer, Frank; Theeuwes, Jan
In 7 experiments, the authors explored whether visual attention (the ability to select relevant visual information) and visual working memory (the ability to retain relevant visual information) share the same content representations. The presence of singleton distractors interfered more strongly with a visual search task when it was accompanied by…
Hardman, Kyle O.; Cowan, Nelson
Working memory (WM) is used for storing information in a highly accessible state so that other mental processes, such as reasoning, can use that information. Some WM tasks require that participants not only store information, but also reason about that information to perform optimally on the task. In this study, we used visual WM tasks that had…
Brady, Timothy F.; Konkle, Talia; Alvarez, George A.
The information that individuals can hold in working memory is quite limited, but researchers have typically studied this capacity using simple objects or letter strings with no associations between them. However, in the real world there are strong associations and regularities in the input. In an information theoretic sense, regularities…
Makovski, Tal; Sussman, Rachel; Jiang, Yuhong V.
Given a changing visual environment, and the limited capacity of visual working memory (VWM), the contents of VWM must be in constant flux. Using a change detection task, the authors show that VWM is subject to obligatory updating in the face of new information. Change detection performance is enhanced when the item that may change is…
Acheson, Daniel J.; MacDonald, Maryellen C.
Many accounts of working memory posit specialized storage mechanisms for the maintenance of serial order. We explore an alternative, that maintenance is achieved through temporary activation in the language production architecture. Four experiments examined the extent to which the phonological similarity effect can be explained as a sublexical…
Wang, Shinmin; Gathercole, Susan E.
The current study investigated the cause of the reported problems in working memory in children with reading difficulties. Verbal and visuospatial simple and complex span tasks, and digit span and reaction times tasks performed singly and in combination, were administered to 46 children with single word reading difficulties and 45 typically…
Graham, Alan R; Benninger, William B
Many articles have been written about the effectiveness of Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT). As Cogmed licensees, we have provided CWMT to more than 350 trainees and have collected pre- and post-training assessment data and parental feedback from about 280 child and adolescent trainees and their parents. On all nine measures of working memory and other selected executive functions, we have found statistically significant improvement. We also offer many of the comments and feedback that we have received from families about the changes they have experienced. There are limitations to the one group pre-test post-test design used in this study that need to be considered as the results are reviewed.
Social anxiety is associated with attentional bias and working memory for emotional stimuli; however, the ways in which social anxiety affects cognitive functions involving non-emotional stimuli remains unclear. The present study focused on the role of attentional networks (i.e. alerting, orienting, and executive control networks) and visuospatial working memory capacity (WMC) for non-emotional stimuli in the context of social anxiety. One hundred and seventeen undergraduates completed questionnaires on social anxiety. They then performed an attentional network test and a change detection task to measure visuospatial WMC. Orienting network and visuospatial WMC were positively correlated with social anxiety. A multiple regression analysis showed significant positive associations of alerting, orienting, and visuospatial WMC with social anxiety. Alerting, orienting networks, and high visuospatial WMC for non-emotional stimuli may predict degree of social anxiety.
Furley, Philip A; Memmert, Daniel
The controlled attention theory of working memory capacity (WMC, Engle 2002) suggests that WMC represents a domain free limitation in the ability to control attention and is predictive of an individual's capability of staying focused, avoiding distraction and impulsive errors. In the present paper we test the predictive power of WMC in computer-based sport decision-making tasks. Experiment 1 demonstrated that high-WMC athletes were better able at focusing their attention on tactical decision making while blocking out irrelevant auditory distraction. Experiment 2 showed that high-WMC athletes were more successful at adapting their tactical decision making according to the situation instead of relying on prepotent inappropriate decisions. The present results provide additional but also unique support for the controlled attention theory of WMC by demonstrating that WMC is predictive of controlling attention in complex settings among different modalities and highlight the importance of working memory in tactical decision making.
Waldhauser, Gerd T; Johansson, Mikael; Bäckström, Martin; Mecklinger, Axel
We aimed at replicating the finding that humans are able to suppress unwanted memories, and tested whether this ability varies with individual differences in working memory capacity, trait anxiety and defensiveness. In a think/no-think experiment, participants either recalled or suppressed previously learned words for 0, 8 or 16 times. Suppression did not have an overall detrimental effect on later recall performance. However, higher recall rates after repeated suppression were exclusively predicted by higher trait anxiety. These results are discussed in relation to current theories on anxiety and executive control.
Executive functioning (e.g., working memory) is tightly intertwined with self-regulation. For example, food cue-elicited craving has been found to impair working memory performance. Furthermore, current dieters have been found to show lower working memory performance than non-dieters. Recent research, however, suggests that it is crucial to consider dieting success in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating in order to reveal cognitive mechanisms that are associated with successful eating-related self-regulation. The current study investigated food cue-related working memory performance as a function of dieting status and dieting success in female students. Participants performed an n-back task with pictures of food and neutral objects. Reaction time in response to food pictures was slower than in response to neutral pictures, whereas omission errors did not differ between picture types. Current food craving was increased after performing the food block, but not after the neutral block. There was an indirect effect of current dieting status on higher food craving after the food block, which was mediated by slower reaction time to food vs. neutral pictures. Furthermore, higher dieting success was associated with fewer omission errors in the food vs. neutral block in current dieters. There were no relationships of restrained eating with current food craving and task performance. Results further highlight the need to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful dieting in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating when examining possible mechanisms of overeating or successful restraint. Although palatable food cues induce food craving regardless of dieting success, they may boost executive functioning in successful dieters, which helps them to overcome these temptations. PMID:28018277
Executive functioning (e.g., working memory) is tightly intertwined with self-regulation. For example, food cue-elicited craving has been found to impair working memory performance. Furthermore, current dieters have been found to show lower working memory performance than non-dieters. Recent research, however, suggests that it is crucial to consider dieting success in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating in order to reveal cognitive mechanisms that are associated with successful eating-related self-regulation. The current study investigated food cue-related working memory performance as a function of dieting status and dieting success in female students. Participants performed an n-back task with pictures of food and neutral objects. Reaction time in response to food pictures was slower than in response to neutral pictures, whereas omission errors did not differ between picture types. Current food craving was increased after performing the food block, but not after the neutral block. There was an indirect effect of current dieting status on higher food craving after the food block, which was mediated by slower reaction time to food vs. neutral pictures. Furthermore, higher dieting success was associated with fewer omission errors in the food vs. neutral block in current dieters. There were no relationships of restrained eating with current food craving and task performance. Results further highlight the need to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful dieting in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating when examining possible mechanisms of overeating or successful restraint. Although palatable food cues induce food craving regardless of dieting success, they may boost executive functioning in successful dieters, which helps them to overcome these temptations.
Dudley, R T
56 college students completed Tobacyk's 1988 Revised Paranormal Belief Scale and Watson, Clark, and Tellegen's 1988 Positive and Negative Affect Scale. Experimental group participants, but not control group participants, rehearsed a five-digit number while completing the Paranormal Belief Scale. Analysis showed higher reported paranormal belief for experimental group participants but no differences on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale. Results are discussed in terms of the effect of restriction in working memory on the critical evaluation of paranormal phenomena.
Xin, Fei; Lei, Xu
An extensive body of literature has indicated that there is increased activity in the frontoparietal control network (FPC) and decreased activity in the default mode network (DMN) during working memory (WM) tasks. The FPC and DMN operate in a competitive relationship during tasks requiring externally directed attention. However, the association between this FPC-DMN competition and performance in social WM tasks has rarely been reported in previous studies. To investigate this question, we measured FPC-DMN connectivity during resting state and two emotional face recognition WM tasks using the 2-back paradigm. Thirty-four individuals were instructed to perform the tasks based on either the expression [emotion (EMO)] or the identity (ID) of the same set of face stimuli. Consistent with previous studies, an increased anti-correlation between the FPC and DMN was observed during both tasks relative to the resting state. Specifically, this anti-correlation during the EMO task was stronger than during the ID task, as the former has a higher social load. Intriguingly, individual differences in self-reported empathy were significantly correlated with the FPC-DMN anti-correlation in the EMO task. These results indicate that the top-down signals from the FPC suppress the DMN to support social WM and empathy.
van der Schaaf, Marieke E; Fallon, Sean J; Ter Huurne, Niels; Buitelaar, Jan; Cools, Roshan
Increased use of stimulant medication, such as methylphenidate, by healthy college students has raised questions about its cognitive-enhancing effects. Methylphenidate acts by increasing extracellular catecholamine levels and is generally accepted to remediate cognitive and reward deficits in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the cognitive-enhancing effects of such 'smart drugs' in the healthy population are still unclear. Here, we investigated effects of methylphenidate (Ritalin, 20 mg) on reward and punishment learning in healthy students (N=19) in a within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design. Results revealed that methylphenidate effects varied both as a function of task demands and as a function of baseline working memory capacity. Specifically, methylphenidate improved reward vs punishment learning in high-working memory subjects, whereas it impaired reward vs punishment learning in low-working memory subjects. These results contribute to our understanding of individual differences in the cognitive-enhancing effects of methylphenidate in the healthy population. Moreover, they highlight the importance of taking into account both inter- and intra-individual differences in dopaminergic drug research.
Xu, Z; Adam, K C S; Fang, X; Vogel, E K
Because of the central role of working memory capacity in cognition, many studies have used short measures of working memory capacity to examine its relationship to other domains. Here, we measured the reliability and stability of visual working memory capacity, measured using a single-probe change detection task. In Experiment 1, the participants (N = 135) completed a large number of trials of a change detection task (540 in total, 180 each of set sizes 4, 6, and 8). With large numbers of both trials and participants, reliability estimates were high (α > .9). We then used an iterative down-sampling procedure to create a look-up table for expected reliability in experiments with small sample sizes. In Experiment 2, the participants (N = 79) completed 31 sessions of single-probe change detection. The first 30 sessions took place over 30 consecutive days, and the last session took place 30 days later. This unprecedented number of sessions allowed us to examine the effects of practice on stability and internal reliability. Even after much practice, individual differences were stable over time (average between-session r = .76).
Collins, Anne G E; Brown, Jaime K; Gold, James M; Waltz, James A; Frank, Michael J
Previous research has shown that patients with schizophrenia are impaired in reinforcement learning tasks. However, behavioral learning curves in such tasks originate from the interaction of multiple neural processes, including the basal ganglia- and dopamine-dependent reinforcement learning (RL) system, but also prefrontal cortex-dependent cognitive strategies involving working memory (WM). Thus, it is unclear which specific system induces impairments in schizophrenia. We recently developed a task and computational model allowing us to separately assess the roles of RL (slow, cumulative learning) mechanisms versus WM (fast but capacity-limited) mechanisms in healthy adult human subjects. Here, we used this task to assess patients' specific sources of impairments in learning. In 15 separate blocks, subjects learned to pick one of three actions for stimuli. The number of stimuli to learn in each block varied from two to six, allowing us to separate influences of capacity-limited WM from the incremental RL system. As expected, both patients (n = 49) and healthy controls (n = 36) showed effects of set size and delay between stimulus repetitions, confirming the presence of working memory effects. Patients performed significantly worse than controls overall, but computational model fits and behavioral analyses indicate that these deficits could be entirely accounted for by changes in WM parameters (capacity and reliability), whereas RL processes were spared. These results suggest that the working memory system contributes strongly to learning impairments in schizophrenia.
Toepper, M; Gebhardt, H; Beblo, T; Thomas, C; Driessen, M; Bischoff, M; Blecker, C R; Vaitl, D; Sammer, G
Executive working memory operations are related to prefrontal regions in the healthy brain. Moreover, neuroimaging data provide evidence for a functional dissociation of ventrolateral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Most authors either suggest a modality-specific or a function-specific prefrontal cortex organization. In the present study we particularly aimed at the identification of different prefrontal cerebral areas that are involved in executive inhibitory processes during spatial working memory encoding. In an fMRI study (functional magnetic resonance imaging) we examined the neural correlates of spatial working memory processing by varying the amount of executive demands of the task. Twenty healthy volunteers performed the Corsi Block-Tapping test (CBT) during fMRI. The CBT requires the storage and reproduction of spatial target sequences. In a second condition, we presented an adapted version of the Block-Suppression-Test (BST). The BST is based on the original CBT but additionally requires the active suppression of visual distraction within the target sequences. In comparison to the CBT performance, particularly the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9) showed more activity during the BST condition. Our results show that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role for executive controlled inhibition of spatial distraction. Furthermore, our findings are in line with the processing model of a functional dorsolateral-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex organization.
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 5-year-olds performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on two rules and four rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands by comparing conditions that included conflict with those that did not. Bilingual children responded faster than monolinguals on all conditions and bilinguals were more accurate than monolinguals in responding to incongruent trials, confirming an advantage in aspects of executive functioning. In the second study, 125 children 5- or 7-year-olds performed a visuospatial span task that manipulated other executive function components through simultaneous or sequential presentation of items. Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals overall, but again there were larger language group effects in conditions that included more demanding executive function requirements. Together, the studies show an advantage for bilingual children in working memory that is especially evident when the task contains additional executive function demands.
Smith, Colin J.; Xiong, Guoxiang; Elkind, Jaclynn A.; Putnam, Brendan; Cohen, Akiva S.
More than 2.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Even mild to moderate TBI causes long-lasting neurological effects. Despite its prevalence, no therapy currently exists to treat the underlying cause of cognitive impairment suffered by TBI patients. Following lateral fluid percussion injury (LFPI), the most widely used experimental model of TBI, we investigated alterations in working memory and excitatory/inhibitory synaptic balance in the prefrontal cortex. LFPI impaired working memory as assessed with a T-maze behavioral task. Field excitatory postsynaptic potentials recorded in the prefrontal cortex were reduced in slices derived from brain-injured mice. Spontaneous and miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents onto layer 2/3 neurons were more frequent in slices derived from LFPI mice, while inhibitory currents onto layer 2/3 neurons were smaller after LFPI. Additionally, an increase in action potential threshold and concomitant decrease in firing rate was observed in layer 2/3 neurons in slices from injured animals. Conversely, no differences in excitatory or inhibitory synaptic transmission onto layer 5 neurons were observed; however, layer 5 neurons demonstrated a decrease in input resistance and action potential duration after LFPI. These results demonstrate synaptic and intrinsic alterations in prefrontal circuitry that may underlie working memory impairment caused by TBI. PMID:26617569
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 children who were 5-years old performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on 2-rules and 4-rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands by comparing conditions that included conflict with those that did not. Bilingual children outperformed monolinguals at both levels of conflict resolution and bilinguals were more accurate than monolinguals in responding to incongruent trials, confirming an advantage in aspects of executive functioning. In the second study, 125 children who were 5-years old or 7-years old performed a visuospatial span task that manipulated other executive function components through simultaneous or sequential presentation of items. Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals overall, but again there were larger language group effects in conditions that included more demanding executive function requirements. Together, the studies show an advantage for bilingual children in working memory that is especially evident when the task contains additional executive function demands. PMID:23059128
Brown, Jaime K.; Gold, James M.; Waltz, James A.; Frank, Michael J.
Previous research has shown that patients with schizophrenia are impaired in reinforcement learning tasks. However, behavioral learning curves in such tasks originate from the interaction of multiple neural processes, including the basal ganglia- and dopamine-dependent reinforcement learning (RL) system, but also prefrontal cortex-dependent cognitive strategies involving working memory (WM). Thus, it is unclear which specific system induces impairments in schizophrenia. We recently developed a task and computational model allowing us to separately assess the roles of RL (slow, cumulative learning) mechanisms versus WM (fast but capacity-limited) mechanisms in healthy adult human subjects. Here, we used this task to assess patients' specific sources of impairments in learning. In 15 separate blocks, subjects learned to pick one of three actions for stimuli. The number of stimuli to learn in each block varied from two to six, allowing us to separate influences of capacity-limited WM from the incremental RL system. As expected, both patients (n = 49) and healthy controls (n = 36) showed effects of set size and delay between stimulus repetitions, confirming the presence of working memory effects. Patients performed significantly worse than controls overall, but computational model fits and behavioral analyses indicate that these deficits could be entirely accounted for by changes in WM parameters (capacity and reliability), whereas RL processes were spared. These results suggest that the working memory system contributes strongly to learning impairments in schizophrenia. PMID:25297101
Rajsic, Jason; Wilson, Daryl E
Models of visual working memory (VWM) have benefitted greatly from the use of the delayed-matching paradigm. However, in this task, the ability to recall a probed feature is confounded with the ability to maintain the proper binding between the feature that is to be reported and the feature (typically location) that is used to cue a particular item for report. Given that location is typically used as a cue-feature, we used the delayed-estimation paradigm to compare memory for location to memory for color, rotating which feature was used as a cue and which was reported. Our results revealed several novel findings: 1) the likelihood of reporting a probed object's feature was superior when reporting location with a color cue than when reporting color with a location cue; 2) location report errors were composed entirely of swap errors, with little to no random location reports; and 3) both colour and location reports greatly benefitted from the presence of nonprobed items at test. This last finding suggests that it is uncertainty over the bindings between locations and colors at memory retrieval that drive swap errors, not at encoding. We interpret our findings as consistent with a representational architecture that nests remembered object features within remembered locations.
Kumar, S.; Joseph, S.; Pearson, B.; Teki, S.; Fox, Z. V.; Griffiths, T. D.; Husain, M.
A prevalent view of working memory (WM) considers it to be capacity-limited, fixed to a set number of items. However, recent shared resource models of WM have challenged this “quantized” account using measures of recall precision. Although this conceptual framework can account for several features of visual WM, it remains to be established whether it also applies to auditory WM. We used a novel pitch-matching paradigm to probe participants’ memory of pure tones in sequences of varying length, and measured their precision of recall. Crucially, this provides an index of the variability of memory representation around its true value, rather than a binary “yes/no” recall measure typically used in change detection paradigms. We show that precision of auditory WM varies with both memory load and serial order. Moreover, auditory WM resources can be prioritized to cued items, improving precision of recall, but with a concomitant cost to other items, consistent with a resource model account. PMID:23486527
Wang, J Jessica; Apperly, Ian A
Direct gaze is a salient social cue that affords rapid detection. A body of research suggests that direct gaze enhances performance on memory tasks (e.g., Hood, Macrae, Cole-Davies, & Dias, Developmental Science, 1, 67-71, 2003). Nonetheless, other studies highlight the disruptive effect direct gaze has on concurrent cognitive processes (e.g., Conty, Gimmig, Belletier, George, & Huguet, Cognition, 115(1), 133-139, 2010). This discrepancy raises questions about the effects direct gaze may have on concurrent memory tasks. We addressed this topic by employing a change detection paradigm, where participants retained information about the color of small sets of agents. Experiment 1 revealed that, despite the irrelevance of the agents' eye gaze to the memory task at hand, participants were worse at detecting changes when the agents looked directly at them compared to when the agents looked away. Experiment 2 showed that the disruptive effect was relatively short-lived. Prolonged presentation of direct gaze led to recovery from the initial disruption, rather than a sustained disruption on change detection performance. The present study provides the first evidence that direct gaze impairs visual working memory with a rapidly-developing yet short-lived effect even when there is no need to attend to agents' gaze.
Berg, Derek H
The cognitive underpinnings of arithmetic calculation in children are noted to involve working memory; however, cognitive processes related to arithmetic calculation and working memory suggest that this relationship is more complex than stated previously. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relative contributions of processing speed, short-term memory, working memory, and reading to arithmetic calculation in children. Results suggested four important findings. First, processing speed emerged as a significant contributor of arithmetic calculation only in relation to age-related differences in the general sample. Second, processing speed and short-term memory did not eliminate the contribution of working memory to arithmetic calculation. Third, individual working memory components--verbal working memory and visual-spatial working memory--each contributed unique variance to arithmetic calculation in the presence of all other variables. Fourth, a full model indicated that chronological age remained a significant contributor to arithmetic calculation in the presence of significant contributions from all other variables. Results are discussed in terms of directions for future research on working memory in arithmetic calculation.
Unsworth, Nash; Fukuda, Keisuke; Awh, Edward; Vogel, Edward K
Several theories have been put forth to explain the relation between working memory (WM) and gF. Unfortunately, no single factor has been shown to fully account for the relation between these two important constructs. In the current study we tested whether multiple factors (capacity, attention control, and secondary memory) would collectively account for the relation. A large number of participants performed multiple measures of each construct and latent variable analyses were used to examine the data. The results demonstrated that capacity, attention control, and secondary memory were uniquely related to WM storage, WM processing, and gF. Importantly, the three factors completely accounted for the relation between WM (both processing and storage) and gF. Thus, although storage and processing make independent contributions to gF, both of these contributions are accounted for by variation in capacity, attention control and secondary memory. These results are consistent with the multifaceted view of WM, suggesting that individual differences in capacity, attention control, and secondary memory jointly account for individual differences in WM and its relation with gF.
Walrave, Laura; Vinken, Mathieu; Albertini, Giulia; De Bundel, Dimitri; Leybaert, Luc; Smolders, Ilse J.
Astrocytes are active players in higher brain function as they can release gliotransmitters, which are essential for synaptic plasticity. Various mechanisms have been proposed for gliotransmission, including vesicular mechanisms as well as non-vesicular ones, for example by passive diffusion via connexin hemichannels (HCs). We here investigated whether interfering with connexin43 (Cx43) HCs influenced hippocampal spatial memory. We made use of the peptide Gap19 that blocks HCs but not gap junction channels and is specific for Cx43. To this end, we microinfused transactivator of transcription linked Gap19 (TAT-Gap19) into the brain ventricle of male NMRI mice and assessed spatial memory in a Y maze. We found that the in vivo blockade of Cx43 HCs did not affect the locomotor activity or spatial working memory in a spontaneous alternation Y maze task. Cx43 blockade did however significantly impair the spatial short-term memory in a delayed spontaneous alternation Y maze task. These results indicate that Cx43 HCs play a role in spatial short-term memory. PMID:28066184
Sprague, Thomas C; Ester, Edward F; Serences, John T
Summary Working memory (WM) enables the maintenance and manipulation of information relevant to behavioral goals. Variability in WM ability is strongly correlated with IQ  and WM function is impaired in many neurological and psychiatric disorders [2, 3], suggesting that this system is a core component of higher cognition. WM storage is thought to be mediated by patterns of activity in neural populations selective for specific properties (e.g., color, orientation, location, motion direction) of memoranda [4–13]. Accordingly, many models propose that differences in the amplitude of these population responses should be related to differences in memory performance [14, 15]. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an image reconstruction technique based on a spatial encoding model  to visualize and quantify population-level memory representations supported by multivoxel patterns of activation within regions of occipital, parietal and frontal cortex while participants precisely remembered the location(s) of 0, 1, or 2 small stimuli. We successfully reconstructed images containing representations of the remembered – but not forgotten – locations within regions of occipital, parietal, and frontal cortex using delay-period activation patterns. Critically, the amplitude of representations of remembered locations and behavioral performance both decreased with increasing memory load. These results suggest that differences in visual WM performance between memory load conditions are mediated by changes in the fidelity of large-scale population response profiles distributed across multiple areas of human cortex. PMID:25201683
Toril, Pilar; Reales, José M.; Mayas, Julia; Ballesteros, Soledad
In this longitudinal intervention study with experimental and control groups, we investigated the effects of video game training on the visuospatial working memory (WM) and episodic memory of healthy older adults. Participants were 19 volunteer older adults, who received 15 1-h video game training sessions with a series of video games selected from a commercial package (Lumosity), and a control group of 20 healthy older adults. The results showed that the performance of the trainees improved significantly in all the practiced video games. Most importantly, we found significant enhancements after training in the trained group and no change in the control group in two computerized tasks designed to assess visuospatial WM, namely the Corsi blocks task and the Jigsaw puzzle task. The episodic memory and short-term memory of the trainees also improved. Gains in some WM and episodic memory tasks were maintained during a 3-month follow-up period. These results suggest that the aging brain still retains some degree of plasticity, and that video game training might be an effective intervention tool to improve WM and other cognitive functions in older adults. PMID:27199723
Toril, Pilar; Reales, José M; Mayas, Julia; Ballesteros, Soledad
In this longitudinal intervention study with experimental and control groups, we investigated the effects of video game training on the visuospatial working memory (WM) and episodic memory of healthy older adults. Participants were 19 volunteer older adults, who received 15 1-h video game training sessions with a series of video games selected from a commercial package (Lumosity), and a control group of 20 healthy older adults. The results showed that the performance of the trainees improved significantly in all the practiced video games. Most importantly, we found significant enhancements after training in the trained group and no change in the control group in two computerized tasks designed to assess visuospatial WM, namely the Corsi blocks task and the Jigsaw puzzle task. The episodic memory and short-term memory of the trainees also improved. Gains in some WM and episodic memory tasks were maintained during a 3-month follow-up period. These results suggest that the aging brain still retains some degree of plasticity, and that video game training might be an effective intervention tool to improve WM and other cognitive functions in older adults.
Oakhill, Jane; Yuill, Nicola; Garnham, Alan
Working memory predicts children's reading comprehension but it is not clear whether this relation is due to a modality-specific or general working memory. This study, which investigated the relations between children's reading skills and working memory (WM) abilities in 3 modalities, extends previous work by including measures of both reading…
Won, Bo-Yeong; Jiang, Yuhong V.
Recent empirical and theoretical work has depicted a close relationship between visual attention and visual working memory. For example, rehearsal in spatial working memory depends on spatial attention, whereas adding a secondary spatial working memory task impairs attentional deployment in visual search. These findings have led to the proposal…
Crane, Laura; Goddard, Lorna; Pring, Linda
Autobiographical memory difficulties have been widely reported in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of the current study was to explore the potential correlates of autobiographical memory performance (including depressed mood, rumination, working memory and theory of mind) in adults with ASD, relative to a group of typical adults…
Martin, Katherine I.; Ellis, Nick C.
This study analyzed phonological short-term memory (PSTM) and working memory (WM) and their relationship with vocabulary and grammar learning in an artificial foreign language. Nonword repetition, nonword recognition, and listening span were used as memory measures. Participants learned the singular forms of vocabulary for an artificial foreign…
Banks, Jonathan B; Tartar, Jaime L; Tamayo, Brittney A
A large and growing body of research demonstrates the impact of psychological stress on working memory. However, the typical study approach tests the effects of a single biological or psychological factor on changes in working memory. The current study attempted to move beyond the standard single-factor assessment by examining the impact of 2 possible factors in stress-related working memory impairments. To this end, 60 participants completed a working memory task before and after either a psychological stressor writing task or a control writing task and completed measures of both cortisol and mind wandering. We also included a measure of state anxiety to examine the direct and indirect effect on working memory. We found that mind wandering mediated the relationship between state anxiety and working memory at the baseline measurement. This indirect relationship was moderated by cortisol, such that the impact of mind wandering on working memory increased as cortisol levels increased. No overall working memory impairment was observed following the stress manipulation, but increases in state anxiety and mind wandering were observed. State anxiety and mind wandering independently mediated the relationship between change in working memory and threat perception. The indirect paths resulted in opposing effects on working memory. Combined, the findings from this study suggest that cortisol enhances the impact of mind wandering on working memory, that state anxiety may not always result in stress-related working memory impairments, and that high working memory performance can protect against mind wandering.
Yuan, Yiran; Leung, Ada W. S.; Duan, Hongxia; Zhang, Liang; Zhang, Kan; Wu, Jianhui; Qin, Shaozheng
This study examined the neural dynamics of working memory (WM) processing under long-term stress. Forty participants who had been exposed to a long period of major exam preparation (six months) and twenty-one control participants performed a numerical n-back task (n = 1, 2) while electroencephalograms were recorded. Psychological and endocrinal measurements confirmed significantly higher levels of long-term stress for participants in the exam group. The exam group showed significantly increased P2 amplitude in the frontal-central sites in the 1-back and 2-back conditions, whereas other ERP components, including the P1, N1 and P3 and behavioral performance, were unchanged. Notably, the P2 effect was most pronounced in participants in the exam group who reported perceiving high levels of stress. The perceived stress scores positively correlated with the P2 amplitude in the 1-back and 2-back conditions. These results suggest that long-term stress has an impact on attention and the initiation of the updating process in WM. PMID:27000528
Brito, Natalie H.; Grenell, Amanda; Barr, Rachel
The specificity of the bilingual advantage in memory was examined by testing groups of monolingual, bilingual, and trilingual 24-month-olds on tasks tapping cued recall, memory generalization and working memory. For the cued recall and memory generalization conditions, there was a 24-h delay between time of encoding and time of retrieval. In addition to the memory tasks, parent-toddler dyads completed a picture-book reading task, in order to observe emotional responsiveness, and a parental report of productive vocabulary. Results indicated no difference between language groups on cued recall, working memory, emotional responsiveness, or productive vocabulary, but a significant difference was found in the memory generalization condition with only the bilingual group outperforming the baseline control group. These results replicate and extend results from past studies (Brito and Barr, 2012, 2014; Brito et al., 2014) and suggest a bilingual advantage specific to memory generalization. PMID:25520686
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
The main objective of present study was to investigate whether the patterns of working memory performance differ as a function of attention and motor difficulties, and whether children with ADHD and DCD could be reliably discriminated on the basis of their memory deficits. A related aim was to investigate the link between their working memory profiles and academic attainment. Fifty children with ADHD-Combined, 55 children with DCD, and an age-matched group of 50 typically developing children with average working memory were assessed on standardized measures of working memory, IQ, and academic attainment (reading, spelling, comprehension, and math). The normal controls performed significantly better than both clinical groups on all working memory tests. Specific patterns emerged in the memory profile of the clinical groups: The children with DCD had a depressed performance in all working memory tests, with particularly low scores in visuospatial memory tasks; children with ADHD performed within age-expected levels in short-term memory but had a pervasive working memory deficit that impacted both verbal and visuospatial domains. The clinical groups could reliably be discriminated on the basis of their short-term memory scores. Their learning profiles were similar. It is possible that the working memory profiles of the children with ADHD and DCD are influenced by distinct underlying cognitive mechanisms, rather than a general neurodevelopmental delay. Despite these distinctive patterns of memory performance, both clinical groups performed similarly on academic attainments, suggesting that memory may underlie learning difficulties, independent of related clinical disorders.
de Carvalho, Carolina A. F.; Kida, Adriana de S. B.; Capellini, Simone A.; de Avila, Clara R. B.
Purpose: To investigate parameters related to fluency, reading comprehension and phonological processing (operational and short-term memory) and identify potential correlation between the variables in Dyslexia and in the absence of reading difficulties. Method: One hundred and fifteen students from the third to eighth grade of elementary school were grouped into a Control Group (CG) and Group with Dyslexia (GDys). Reading of words, pseudowords and text (decoding); listening and reading comprehension; phonological short-term and working memory (repetition of pseudowords and Digit Span) were evaluated. Results: The comparison of the groups showed significant differences in decoding, phonological short-term memory (repetition of pseudowords) and answers to text-connecting questions (TC) on reading comprehension, with the worst performances identified for GDys. In this group there were negative correlations between pseudowords repetition and TC answers and total score, both on listening comprehension. No correlations were found between operational and short-term memory (Digit Span) and parameters of fluency and reading comprehension in dyslexia. For the sample without complaint, there were positive correlations between some parameters of reading fluency and repetition of pseudowords and also between answering literal questions in listening comprehension and repetition of digits on the direct and reverse order. There was no correlation with the parameters of reading comprehension. Conclusion: GDys and CG showed similar performance in listening comprehension and in understanding of explicit information and gap-filling inference on reading comprehension. Students of GDys showed worst performance in reading decoding, phonological short-term memory (pseudowords) and on inferences that depends on textual cohesion understanding in reading. There were negative correlations between pseudowords repetition and TC answers and total score, both in listening comprehension. PMID
Beatty, W W; Rush, J R
To assess the possible involvement of the monoaminergic neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the maintenance of spatial working memory rats were treated with antagonists 0 or 2 hr after completing the first 4 choices in an 8 arm maze. Haloperidol (0.25-1 mg/kg), when administered 2 hr after Choice 4, produced a small but consistent impairment in performance on retention tests given 5 hr after the first 4 choices. This deficit closely resembled natural forgetting in terms of the type of errors committed. By contrast, haloperidol in the same doses given 0 hr after Choice 4 or 3 hr before the first 4 choices did not affect retention. Likewise treatment with propranolol (10-20 mg/kg), phentolamine (5-20 mg/kg) or methysergide (5-15 mg/kg) did not impair spatial memory, regardless of when these drugs were injected within the session. Evidently dopaminergic neuronal systems are important in the maintenance of normal spatial working memory.
Nęcka, Edward; Żak, Piotr; Gruszka, Aleksandra
Available body of evidence concerning the relationship between insight problem solving and working memory (WM) is ambiguous. Several authors propose that restructuring of the problem representation requires controlled search processes, which needs planning and involvement of WM. Other researchers suggest that the restructuring is achieved through the automatic spread of activation in long-term memory, assigning a limited role to WM capacity. In the present study we examined the correlations between insight problem solving performance and measures of WM updating function (n-back task), including general intelligence (as measured by Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices). The results revealed that updating function shared up to 30% of variance with the insight problem task performance, even when the influence of general mental ability was controlled for. These results suggest that insight problem solving is constrained by individual ability to update the content of WM. PMID:26973549
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared with their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared with their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared with their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities. PMID:25554726
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared with their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared with their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared with their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities.
Influence of Response Prepotency Strength, General Working Memory Resources, and Specific Working Memory Load on the Ability to Inhibit Predominant Responses: A Comparison of Young and Elderly Participants
Grandjean, Julien; Collette, Fabienne
One conception of inhibitory functioning suggests that the ability to successfully inhibit a predominant response depends mainly on the strength of that response, the general functioning of working memory processes, and the working memory demand of the task (Roberts, Hager, & Heron, 1994). The proposal that inhibition and functional working memory…
Kharitonova, Maria; Winter, Warren; Sheridan, Margaret A
Working memory develops slowly: Even by age 8, children are able to maintain only half the number of items that adults can remember. Neural substrates that support performance on working memory tasks also have a slow developmental trajectory and typically activate to a lesser extent in children, relative to adults. Little is known about why younger participants elicit less neural activation. This may be due to maturational differences, differences in behavioral performance, or both. Here we investigate the neural correlates of working memory capacity in children (ages 5-8) and adults using a visual working memory task with parametrically increasing loads (from one to four items) using fMRI. This task allowed us to estimate working memory capacity limit for each group. We found that both age groups increased the activation of frontoparietal networks with increasing working memory loads, until working memory capacity was reached. Because children's working memory capacity limit was half of that for adults, the plateau occurred at lower loads for children. Had a parametric increase in load not been used, this would have given an impression of less activation overall and less load-dependent activation for children relative to adults. Our findings suggest that young children and adults recruit similar frontoparietal networks at working memory loads that do not exceed capacity and highlight the need to consider behavioral performance differences when interpreting developmental differences in neural activation.
Hayes, John R.; Chenoweth, N. Ann
Generally, researchers agree that verbal working memory plays an important role in cognitive processes involved in writing. However, there is disagreement about which cognitive processes make use of working memory. Kellogg has proposed that verbal working memory is involved in translating but not in editing or producing (i.e., typing) text. In…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Alloway, Ross G.
There is growing evidence for the relationship between working memory and academic attainment. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether working memory is simply a proxy for IQ or whether there is a unique contribution to learning outcomes. The findings indicate that children's working memory skills at 5 years of age were the best…
Swanson, H. Lee
Examined whether age-related working memory deficits in learning disabled (LD) readers across four age groups (7, 10, 13, and 20) reflected retrieval efficiency or storage capacity problems. Found that LD readers' working memory performance was inferior to skilled readers' on verbal and visual-spatial working memory tasks across all ages.…
Baker, S.; Hooper, S.; Skinner, M.; Hatton, D.; Schaaf, J.; Ornstein, P.; Bailey, D.
Background: Working memory problems have been targeted as core deficits in individuals with Fragile X syndrome (FXS); however, there have been few studies that have examined working memory in young boys with FXS, and even fewer studies that have studied the working memory performance of young boys with FXS across different degrees of complexity.…
Autin, Frederique; Croizet, Jean-Claude
Working memory capacity, our ability to manage incoming information for processing purposes, predicts achievement on a wide range of intellectual abilities. Three randomized experiments (N = 310) tested the effectiveness of a brief psychological intervention designed to boost working memory efficiency (i.e., state working memory capacity) by…
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and…
Wang, Lu; Carr, Martha
In this review, a new model that is grounded in information-processing theory is proposed to account for gender differences in spatial ability. The proposed model assumes that the relative strength of working memory, as expressed by the ratio of visuospatial working memory to verbal working memory, influences the type of strategies used on spatial…
von Bastian, Claudia C.; Oberauer, Klaus
The impact of working memory training on a broad set of transfer tasks was examined. Each of three groups of participants trained one specific functional category of working memory capacity: storage and processing, relational integration, and supervision. A battery comprising tests to measure working memory, task shifting, inhibition, and…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Pickering, Susan J.
This study explored the structure of verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory in children between ages 4 and 11 years. Multiple tasks measuring 4 different memory components were used to capture the cognitive processes underlying working memory. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the processing component of working memory…
Schuchardt, Kirsten; Bockmann, Ann-Katrin; Bornemann, Galina; Maehler, Claudia
Purpose: On the basis of Baddeley's working memory model (1986), we examined working memory functioning in children with learning disorders with and without specific language impairment (SLI). We pursued the question whether children with learning disorders exhibit similar working memory deficits as children with additional SLI. Method: In…
Naumann, Johannes; Richter, Tobias; Christmann, Ursula; Groeben, Norbert
Cognitive and metacognitive strategies are particularly important for learning with hypertext. The effectiveness of strategy training, however, depends on available working memory resources. Thus, especially learners high on working memory capacity can profit from strategy training, while learners low on working memory capacity might easily be…
Palladino, Paola; Cornoldi, Cesare
It has been suggested that the ability to learn a foreign language is related to working memory. However, there is no clear evidence about which component of working memory may be involved. Two experiments investigated working memory problems in groups of seventh and eighth grade Italian children with difficulties in learning English as a second…
Chooi, Weng-Tink; Thompson, Lee A.
Jaeggi and her colleagues claimed that they were able to improve fluid intelligence by training working memory. Subjects who trained their working memory on a dual n-back task for a period of time showed significant improvements in working memory span tasks and fluid intelligence tests such as the Raven's Progressive Matrices and the Bochumer…
Nevo, Einat; Breznitz, Zvia
This study investigated the development of working memory ability (measured by tasks assessing all four working memory components) from the end of kindergarten to the end of first grade--the first year reading is taught in school--and the relationship between working memory abilities in kindergarten and first grade and reading skills in first…
Cowan, Nelson; Saults, J Scott; Clark, Katherine M
Recent research has shown marked developmental increases in the apparent capacity of working memory. This recent research is based largely on performance on tasks in which a visual array is to be retained briefly for comparison with a subsequent probe display. Here we examined a possible theoretical alternative (or supplement) to a developmental increase in working memory in which children could improve in the ability to combine items in an array to form a coherent configuration. Elementary school children and adults received, on each trial, an array of colored spots to be remembered. On some trials, we provided structure in the probe display to facilitate the formation of a mental representation in which a coherent configuration is encoded. This stimulus structure in the probe display helped younger children, and thus reduced the developmental trend, but only on trials in which the participants were held responsible for the locations of items in the array. We conclude that, in addition to the development of the ability to form precise spatial configurations from items, the evidence is consistent with the existence of an actual developmental increase in working memory capacity for objects in an array.
Cowan, Nelson; Saults, J. Scott; Clark, Katherine M.
Recent research has shown marked developmental increases in the apparent capacity of working memory. This recent research is based largely on performance on tasks in which a visual array is to be retained briefly for comparison with a subsequent probe display. Here we examine a possible theoretical alternative (or supplement) to a developmental increase in working memory, in which children could improve in the ability to combine items in an array to form a coherent configuration. Elementary school children and adults received, on each trial, an array of colored spots to be remembered. On some trials, we provided structure in the probe display to facilitate the formation of a mental representation in which a coherent configuration is encoded. This stimulus structure in the probe display helped younger children and thus reduced the developmental trend, but only on trials in which the participant was held responsible for the locations of items in the array. We conclude that, in addition to the development of the ability to form precise spatial configurations from items, the evidence is consistent with the existence of an actual developmental increase in working memory capacity for objects in an array. PMID:25841172
Conlin, Juliet A.; Gathercole, Susan E.
Four experiments investigated the impact of the lexical status of memory and processing stimuli on complex memory performance, with the aim of exploring mechanisms of interference in working memory. In a complex memory task, participants recalled words or nonwords while either monitoring words or nonwords for phonological content, or suppressing…
Aurtenetxe, Sara; García-Pacios, Javier; del Río, David; López, María E.; Pineda-Pardo, José A.; Marcos, Alberto; Delgado Losada, Maria L.; López-Frutos, José M.; Maestú, Fernando
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a transitional stage between healthy aging and dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease (AD). The most common cognitive impairment of MCI includes episodic memory loss and difficulties in working memory (WM). Interference can deplete WM, and an optimal WM performance requires an effective control of attentional resources between the memoranda and the incoming stimuli. Difficulties in handling interference lead to forgetting. However, the interplay between interference and WM in MCI is not well-understood and needs further investigation. The current study investigated the effect of interference during a WM task in 20 MCIs and 20 healthy elder volunteers. Participants performed a delayed match-to-sample paradigm which consisted in two interference conditions, distraction and interruption, and one control condition without any interference. Results evidenced a disproportionate impact of interference on the WM performance of MCIs, mainly in the presence of interruption. These findings demonstrate that interference, and more precisely interruption, is an important proxy for memory-related deficits in MCI. Thus, the current findings reveal novel evidence regarding the causes of WM forgetting in MCI patients, associated with difficulties in the mechanisms of attentional control. PMID:27790082
Ye, Chaoxiong; Hu, Zhonghua; Ristaniemi, Tapani; Gendron, Maria; Liu, Qiang
In visual working memory (VWM) tasks, participants’ performance can be improved by a retro-object-cue. However, previous studies have not investigated whether participants’ performance can also be improved by a retro-dimension-cue. Three experiments investigated this issue. We used a recall task with a retro-dimension-cue in all experiments. In Experiment 1, we found benefits from retro-dimension-cues compared to neutral cues. This retro-dimension-cue benefit is reflected in an increased probability of reporting the target, but not in the probability of reporting the non-target, as well as increased precision with which this item is remembered. Experiment 2 replicated the retro-dimension-cue benefit and showed that the length of the blank interval after the cue disappeared did not influence recall performance. Experiment 3 replicated the results of Experiment 2 with a lower memory load. Our studies provide evidence that there is a robust retro-dimension-cue benefit in VWM. Participants can use internal attention to flexibly allocate cognitive resources to a particular dimension of memory representations. The results also support the feature-based storing hypothesis. PMID:27774983
Touron, Dayna R; Oransky, Natalie; Meier, Matthew E; Hines, Jarrod C
Research indicates that cognitive age differences can be influenced by metacognitive factors. This research has generally focused on simple memory tasks. Age differences in working memory (WM) performance are pronounced, but are typically attributed to basic cognitive deficits rather than metacognitive factors. However, WM performance can be influenced by strategic behaviour that might be driven by metacognitive monitoring. In the current project, we attempted to connect these lines of research by examining age differences in metacognitive WM monitoring and strategies. In Experiment 1, younger and older adult participants completed a computerized operation span task in conditions that either required or did not require monitoring reports. Participants in the monitoring condition predicted and postdicted global performance for each block and rated their responses following each trial within a block. In Experiment 2, participants also reported their trial-level strategic approach. In contrast to the age equivalence typically found for simple memory monitoring, results demonstrated age differences in WM monitoring accuracy. Overall age differences in strategy use were not found, but using effective strategies benefited older adults' performance more than younger adults'. Furthermore, age-related differences in the WM task appear to be mediated by the accuracy of performance monitoring.
Stokes, Mark G.; Walther, Lena; Nobre, Anna C.
Our capacity to remember and manipulate objects in working memory (WM) is severely limited. However, this capacity limitation is unlikely to be fixed because behavioral models indicate variability from trial to trial. We investigated whether fluctuations in neural excitability at stimulus encoding, as indexed by low-frequency oscillations (in the alpha band, 8–14 Hz), contribute to this variability. Specifically, we hypothesized that the spontaneous state of alpha band activity would correlate with trial-by-trial fluctuations in visual WM. Electroencephalography recorded from human observers during a visual WM task revealed that the prestimulus desynchronization of alpha oscillations predicts the accuracy of memory recall on a trial-by-trial basis. A model-based analysis indicated that this effect arises from a modulation in the precision of memorized items, but not the likelihood of remembering them (the recall rate). The phase of posterior alpha oscillations preceding the memorized item also predicted memory accuracy. Based on correlations between prestimulus alpha levels and stimulus-related visual evoked responses, we speculate that the prestimulus state of the visual system prefigures a cascade of state-dependent processes, ultimately affecting WM-guided behavior. Overall, our results indicate that spontaneous changes in cortical excitability can have profound consequences for higher visual cognition. PMID:24899697
Esteban, Laura; Vivas, Ana B.; Fuentes, Luis J.; Estévez, Angeles F.
Working memory (WM) is essential to academic achievement. Any enhancement of WM abilities may improve children’s school performance. We tested the usefulness of the differential outcomes procedure (DOP) to enhance typically developing children’s performance on a spatial WM task. The DOP involves a conditional discriminative learning task in which a correct choice response to a specific stimulus-stimulus association is reinforced with a particular reinforcer (outcome). We adapted a spatial memory task to be used with the DOP. Participants had to learn and retain in their WM four target locations of eight possible locations where a shape could be presented. Two groups of 5- and 7-year-old children performed the low-attentional version of the spatial task, and an additional group of 7-year-old children performed the high-attentional version. The results showed that compared with the standard non-differential outcomes procedure (NOP), the DOP produced better memory-based performance in 5-year-old children with the low-attentional task and in 7-year-old children with the high-attentional task. Additionally, delay intervals impaired performance in the NOP but not in the DOP. These findings suggest that the DOP may be a useful complement to other WM intervention programs targeted to improve children´s academic performance at school. PMID:26596777
Cyr, Marilyn; Nee, Derek E; Nelson, Eric; Senger, Thea; Jonides, John; Malapani, Chara
Working memory (WM) is a cognitive system responsible for actively maintaining and processing relevant information and is central to successful cognition. A process critical to WM is the resolution of proactive interference (PI), which involves suppressing memory intrusions from prior memories that are no longer relevant. Most studies that have examined resistance to PI in a process-pure fashion used verbal material. By contrast, studies using non-verbal material are scarce, and it remains unclear whether the effect of PI is domain-general or whether it applies solely to the verbal domain. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of PI in visual WM using both objects with high and low nameability. Using a Directed-Forgetting paradigm, we varied discriminability between WM items on two dimensions, one verbal (high-nameability vs. low-nameability objects) and one perceptual (colored vs. gray objects). As in previous studies using verbal material, effects of PI were found with object stimuli, even after controlling for verbal labels being used (i.e., low-nameability condition). We also found that the addition of distinctive features (color, verbal label) increased performance in rejecting intrusion probes, most likely through an increase in discriminability between content-context bindings in WM.
Aurtenetxe, Sara; García-Pacios, Javier; Del Río, David; López, María E; Pineda-Pardo, José A; Marcos, Alberto; Delgado Losada, Maria L; López-Frutos, José M; Maestú, Fernando
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a transitional stage between healthy aging and dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease (AD). The most common cognitive impairment of MCI includes episodic memory loss and difficulties in working memory (WM). Interference can deplete WM, and an optimal WM performance requires an effective control of attentional resources between the memoranda and the incoming stimuli. Difficulties in handling interference lead to forgetting. However, the interplay between interference and WM in MCI is not well-understood and needs further investigation. The current study investigated the effect of interference during a WM task in 20 MCIs and 20 healthy elder volunteers. Participants performed a delayed match-to-sample paradigm which consisted in two interference conditions, distraction and interruption, and one control condition without any interference. Results evidenced a disproportionate impact of interference on the WM performance of MCIs, mainly in the presence of interruption. These findings demonstrate that interference, and more precisely interruption, is an important proxy for memory-related deficits in MCI. Thus, the current findings reveal novel evidence regarding the causes of WM forgetting in MCI patients, associated with difficulties in the mechanisms of attentional control.
Supalla, Ted; Hauser, Peter C.; Bavelier, Daphne
The American Sign Language Sentence Reproduction Test (ASL-SRT) requires the precise reproduction of a series of ASL sentences increasing in complexity and length. Error analyses of such tasks provides insight into working memory and scaffolding processes. Data was collected from three groups expected to differ in fluency: deaf children, deaf adults and hearing adults, all users of ASL. Quantitative (correct/incorrect recall) and qualitative error analyses were performed. Percent correct on the reproduction task supports its sensitivity to fluency as test performance clearly differed across the three groups studied. A linguistic analysis of errors further documented differing strategies and bias across groups. Subjects' recall projected the affordance and constraints of deep linguistic representations to differing degrees, with subjects resorting to alternate processing strategies when they failed to recall the sentence correctly. A qualitative error analysis allows us to capture generalizations about the relationship between error pattern and the cognitive scaffolding, which governs the sentence reproduction process. Highly fluent signers and less-fluent signers share common chokepoints on particular words in sentences. However, they diverge in heuristic strategy. Fluent signers, when they make an error, tend to preserve semantic details while altering morpho-syntactic domains. They produce syntactically correct sentences with equivalent meaning to the to-be-reproduced one, but these are not verbatim reproductions of the original sentence. In contrast, less-fluent signers tend to use a more linear strategy, preserving lexical status and word ordering while omitting local inflections, and occasionally resorting to visuo-motoric imitation. Thus, whereas fluent signers readily use top-down scaffolding in their working memory, less fluent signers fail to do so. Implications for current models of working memory across spoken and signed modalities are considered. PMID
Zhang, Zhi-Xue; Hempel, Paul S; Han, Yu-Lan; Tjosvold, Dean
Teamwork and coordination of expertise among team members with different backgrounds are increasingly recognized as important for team effectiveness. Recently, researchers have examined how team members rely on transactive memory system (TMS; D. M. Wegner, 1987) to share their distributed knowledge and expertise. To establish the ecological validity and generality of TMS research findings, this study sampled 104 work teams from a variety of organizational settings in China and examined the relationships between team characteristics, TMS, and team performance. The results suggest that task interdependence, cooperative goal interdependence, and support for innovation are positively related to work teams' TMS and that TMS is related to team performance; moreover, structural equation analysis indicates that TMS mediates the team characteristics-performance links. Findings have implications both for team leaders to manage their work teams effectively and for team members to improve their team performance.
Beatty, Erin L.; Jobidon, Marie-Eve; Bouak, Fethi; Nakashima, Ann; Smith, Ingrid; Lam, Quan; Blackler, Kristen; Cheung, Bob; Vartanian, Oshin
N-back working memory (WM) tasks necessitate the maintenance and updating of dynamic rehearsal sets during performance. The delayed matching-to-sample (dMTS) task is another WM task, which in turn involves the encoding, maintenance, and retrieval of stimulus representations in sequential order. Because both n-back and dMTS engage WM function, we hypothesized that compared to a control task not taxing WM, training on the n-back task would be associated with better performance on dMTS by virtue of training a shared mental capacity. We tested this hypothesis by randomly assigning subjects (N = 43) to train on either the n-back (including 2-back and 3-back levels) or an active control task. Following training, dMTS was administered in the fMRI scanner. The n-back group performed marginally better than the active control group on dMTS. In addition, although the n-back group improved more on the less difficult 2-back level than the more difficult 3-back level across training sessions, it was improvement on the 3-back level that accounted for 21% of the variance in dMTS performance. For the control group, improvement in training across sessions was unrelated to dMTS performance. At the neural level, greater activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus, right posterior parietal cortex, and the cerebellum distinguished the n-back group from the control group in the maintenance phase of dMTS. Degree of improvement on the 3-back level across training sessions was correlated with activation in right lateral prefrontal and motor cortices in the maintenance phase of dMTS. Our results suggest that although n-back training is more likely to improve performance in easier blocks, it is improvement in more difficult blocks that is predictive of performance on a target task drawing on WM. In addition, the extent to which training on a task can transfer to another task is likely due to the engagement of shared cognitive capacities and underlying neural substrates—in this case WM
Pan, Yi; Hou, Xiu
Recent research has shown that the contents of working memory can alter our perceptual experiences of visual matching stimuli. However, it is possible that different kinds of working memory representations may distort visual perception in different ways. In the present study, we associated working memory representations with different attentional tags and then examined their effects on perceived duration. The results showed that working memory representations prolonged apparent duration when they were tagged as a target and shortened perceived duration when they were tagged as a distractor. This is the first demonstration that attentional tags can modulate working memory effects on perceptual experience. We conclude that the influences of working memory on visual perception are determined not only by what information to be held in memory, but also by how the information is represented in memory.
Barker, Lauren A
This article provides a review of working memory and its application to educational settings. A discussion of the varying definitions of working memory is presented. Special attention is given to the various multidisciplinary professionals who work with students with working memory deficits, and their unique understanding of the construct. Definitions and theories of working memory are briefly summarized and provide the foundation for understanding practical applications of working memory to assessment and intervention. Although definitions and models of working memory abound, there is limited consensus regarding universally accepted definitions and models. Current research indicates that developing new models of working memory may be an appropriate paradigm shift at this time. The integration of individual practitioner's knowledge regarding academic achievement, working memory and processing speed could provide a foundation for the future development of new working memory models. Future directions for research should aim to explain how tasks and behaviors are supported by the substrates of the cortico-striatal and the cerebro-cerebellar systems. Translation of neurobiological information into educational contexts will be helpful to inform all practitioners' knowledge of working memory constructs. It will also allow for universally accepted definitions and models of working memory to arise and facilitate more effective collaboration between disciplines working in educational setting.
Tyurenkov, I N; Volotova, E V; Kurkin, D V
This work was aimed at evaluating the influence of gliatilin administration on the spatial memory in aged rats. Cognitive function and spatial memory in animals was evaluated using radial (8-beam) maze test. Errors of working spatial memory and reference memory were used as indicators of impaired cognitive function. It was found that aged (24-month) rats compared with younger (6-months) age group exhibited cognitive impairment, as manifested by deterioration of short- and long-term memory processes. Course administration of gliatilin in rats of the older age group at a dose of 100 mg/kg resulted in significant improvement of the working and reference spatial memory in aged rats.
Salazar-Villanea, Monica; Liebmann, Edward; Garnier-Villarreal, Mauricio; Montenegro-Montenegro, Esteban; Johnson, David K.
Objectives Low and middle income nations will experience an unprecedented growth of the elderly population and subsequent increase in age-related neurological disorders. Worldwide prevalence and incidence of all-types of neurological disorders with serious mental health complications will increase with life expectancy across the globe. One-in- ten individuals over 75 has at least moderate cognitive impairment. Prevalence of cognitive impairment doubles every 5 years thereafter. Latin America’s population of older adult’s 65 years and older is growing rapidly, yet little is known about cognitive aging among healthy older Latinos. Clinically significant depressive symptomatology is common among community-dwelling older adults and is associated with deficits across multiple cognitive domains, however much of the literature has not modeled the unique effects of depression distinct from negative and low positive affect. Our objective was to understand how mental health affects cognitive health in healthy aging Latinos. Methods The present study used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the relative effects of Negative Affect, Positive Affect and Geriatric Depression on Verbal Memory, Verbal Reasoning, Processing Speed, and Working Memory in healthy aging Latinos. Data was collected from a sample of healthy community dwelling older adults living in San Jose, Costa Rica. Modeling of latent variables attenuated error and improved measurement reliability of cognition, affect, and depression variables. Results Costa Ricans enjoy a notoriety for being much happier than US citizens and are renowned as one of the happiest nations in the world in global surveys. This was born out in these data. Costa Rican affective profiles differed substantively from US profiles. Levels of negative affect and depression were similar to US samples, but their levels of positive affect were much higher. Cognitive performance of these Costa Rican
Boerlin, Martin; Denève, Sophie
Compelling behavioral evidence suggests that humans can make optimal decisions despite the uncertainty inherent in perceptual or motor tasks. A key question in neuroscience is how populations of spiking neurons can implement such probabilistic computations. In this article, we develop a comprehensive framework for optimal, spike-based sensory integration and working memory in a dynamic environment. We propose that probability distributions are inferred spike-per-spike in recurrently connected networks of integrate-and-fire neurons. As a result, these networks can combine sensory cues optimally, track the state of a time-varying stimulus and memorize accumulated evidence over periods much longer than the time constant of single neurons. Importantly, we propose that population responses and persistent working memory states represent entire probability distributions and not only single stimulus values. These memories are reflected by sustained, asynchronous patterns of activity which make relevant information available to downstream neurons within their short time window of integration. Model neurons act as predictive encoders, only firing spikes which account for new information that has not yet been signaled. Thus, spike times signal deterministically a prediction error, contrary to rate codes in which spike times are considered to be random samples of an underlying firing rate. As a consequence of this coding scheme, a multitude of spike patterns can reliably encode the same information. This results in weakly correlated, Poisson-like spike trains that are sensitive to initial conditions but robust to even high levels of external neural noise. This spike train variability reproduces the one observed in cortical sensory spike trains, but cannot be equated to noise. On the contrary, it is a consequence of optimal spike-based inference. In contrast, we show that rate-based models perform poorly when implemented with stochastically spiking neurons. PMID:21379319
Hernández, Mireia; Costa, Albert; Humphreys, Glyn W
We ask whether bilingualism aids cognitive control over the inadvertent guidance of visual attention from working memory and from bottom-up cueing. We compare highly-proficient Catalan-Spanish bilinguals with Spanish monolinguals in three visual search conditions. In the working memory (WM) condition, attention was driven in a top-down fashion by irrelevant objects held in WM. In the Identify condition, attention was driven in a bottom-up fashion by visual priming. In the Singleton condition, attention was driven in a bottom-up fashion by including a unique distracting object in the search array. The results showed that bilinguals were overall faster than monolinguals in the three conditions, replicating previous findings that bilinguals can be more efficient than monolinguals in the deployment of attention. Interestingly, bilinguals were less captured by irrelevant information held in WM but were equally affected by visual priming and unique singletons in the search displays. These observations suggest that bilingualism aids top-down WM-mediated guidance of attention, facilitating processes that keep separate representations in WM from representations that guide visual attention. In contrast, bottom-up attentional capture by salient yet unrelated input operates similarly in bilinguals and monolinguals.
Li, Dawei; Cowan, Nelson; Saults, J. Scott
Working memory (WM) capacity limit has been extensively studied in the domains of visual and verbal stimuli. Previous studies have suggested a fixed WM capacity of typically about 3 or 4 items, based on the number of items in working memory reaching a plateau after several items as the set size increases. However, the fixed WM capacity estimate appears to rely on categorical information in the stimulus set (Olsson & Poom, 2005). We designed a series of experiments to investigate nonverbal auditory WM capacity and its dependence on categorical information. Experiments 1 and 2 used simple tones and revealed capacity limit of up to 2 tones following a 6-s retention interval. Importantly, performance was significantly higher at set sizes 2, 3, and 4 when the frequency difference between target and test tones was relatively large. In Experiment 3, we added categorical information to the simple tones, and the effect of tone change magnitude decreased. Maximal capacity for each individual was just over 3 sounds, in the range of typical visual procedures. We propose that two types of information, categorical and detailed acoustic information, are kept in WM, and that categorical information is critical for high WM performance. PMID:23143913
Shi, Zhan; Gao, Xin; Zhou, Renlai
Previous studies have shown that working memory (WM) processes are related to frontal-midline theta (FM-theta) activity (4-8 Hz) and test anxiety impairs WM performance. However, the effect of test anxiety on FM-theta activity during WM has not been investigated as yet. To examine this question, 37 undergraduates were asked to complete a modified reading span task involving neutral working memory capacity (WMC) and emotional WMC while their electroencephalography was measured. The results showed that relative to neutral WMC performance (the ability to remember the letter lists in the context of valence-neutral sentences), emotional WMC performance (the ability to remember the letter lists in the context of test-related sentences) was poorer for highly test anxious participants compared with lowly test anxious participants. Relative to FM-theta activity during remembering the letter lists in the valence-neutral context, FM-theta activity was weaker during remembering the letter lists in the test-related context for highly test anxious participants compared with lowly test anxious participants. These findings indicate that FM-theta is an index not only for successful WM manipulation but also for efficient prefrontal cortex functioning during WM.
Merz, Emily C.; McCall, Robert B.; Wright, Amanda J.; Luna, Beatriz
Inhibitory control and working memory were examined in post-institutionalized (PI) children adopted into United States families from Russian institutions. The PI sample originated from institutions that were less severely depriving than those represented in previous studies and approximated the level of psychosocial deprivation, which is characterized by adequate physical resources but a lack of consistent and responsive caregiving. PI children (N=75; 29 male) ranged in age from 8–17 years (M=12.97; SD=3.03) and were grouped according to whether they were adopted after 14 months or before 9 months. A non-adopted comparison group (N=133; 65 male) ranged in age from 8–17 years (M=12.26; SD=2.75). PI children adopted after 14 months of age displayed poorer performance on the stop-signal and spatial span tasks relative to PI children adopted before 9 months of age after controlling for age at assessment. The two PI groups did not differ in their performance on a spatial self-ordered search task. Older-adopted PI children also showed poorer spatial span task performance compared to non-adopted children, but younger-adopted PI children did not. Task performance was significantly associated with parent-rated hyperactive-impulsive behavior in everyday contexts. These findings suggest that exposure to prolonged early institutional deprivation may be linked with inhibitory control and working memory difficulties years after adoption. PMID:23519375
Luu, Phan; Caggiano, Daniel M.; Geyer, Alexandra; Lewis, Jenn; Cohn, Joseph; Tucker, Don M.
Working memory (WM) is one of the most studied cognitive constructs. Although many neuroimaging studies have identified brain networks involved in WM, the time course of these networks remains unclear. In this paper we use dense-array electroencephalography (dEEG) to capture neural signals during performance of a standard WM task, the n-back task, and a blend of principal components analysis and independent components analysis (PCA/ICA) to statistically identify networks of WM and their time courses. Results reveal a visual cortex centric network, that also includes the posterior cingulate cortex, that is active prior to stimulus onset and that appears to reflect anticipatory, attention-related processes. After stimulus onset, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, lateral prefrontal prefrontal cortex, and temporal poles become associated with the prestimulus network. This second network appears to reflect executive control processes. Following activation of the second network, the cortices of the temporo-parietal junction with the temporal lobe structures seen in the first and second networks re-engage. This third network appears to reflect activity of the ventral attention network involved in control of attentional reorientation. The results point to important temporal features of network dynamics that integrate multiple subsystems of the ventral attention network with the default mode network in the performance of working memory tasks. PMID:24523686
Kyttälä, Minna; Kanerva, Kaisa; Kroesbergen, Evelyn
Previous studies have shown that early numeracy skills predict later mathematics learning and that they can be improved by training. Cognitive abilities, especially working memory (WM), play an important role in early numeracy, as well. Several studies have shown that working memory is related to early numeracy. So far, existing literature offers a good few examples of studies in which WM training has led to improvements in early numerical performance as well. In this study, we aim at investigating the effects of two different training conditions: (1) counting training; and (2) simultaneous training of WM and counting on five- to six-year-old preschoolers' (N = 61) counting skills. The results show that domain-specific training in mathematical skills is more effective in improving early numerical performance than WM and counting training combined. Based on our results, preschool-aged children do not seem to benefit from short period group training of WM skills. However, because of several intervening factors, one should not conclude that young children's WM training is ineffectual. Instead, future studies should be conducted to further investigate the issue.
Englund, Julia A; Decker, Scott L; Woodlief, Darren T; DiStefano, Christine
Research has demonstrated strong connections among working memory (WM), higher-level cognition, and academic achievement. Despite the importance of WM, currently available WM tests have practical limitations and lack comprehensive coverage of multiple WM components. The Working Memory Battery (WOMBAT) includes nine subtests measuring multiple content domains and processing demands, in accordance with contemporary WM theoretical frameworks. The current study evaluated the WOMBAT factor structure and identified misfitting items using confirmatory factor analysis and Rasch modeling with scores from 125 adolescents and 177 adults (N = 302). Overall, results indicated the WOMBAT measures separate Verbal, Static Visual-Spatial, and Dynamic Visual-Spatial dimensions, and that more than 98% of items contribute to measurement of those dimensions. This provides support for the theoretical organization of WM into three distinct content domains in the WOMBAT. Misfitting items were identified using infit and outfit indices for further review to improve reliability and stability. Results also demonstrated adequate person separation and Rasch person reliability and item reliability. Test-retest reliability and internal consistency coefficients suggest adequate reliability for early-stage research, but further refinement is needed before the WOMBAT can be used for individual decision making. Implications for future test development and research on the WM construct are provided.
Miyake, Akira; Witzki, Alexander H.; Emerson, Michael J.
Field dependence-independence (FDI) is a construct intensively investigated within cognitive style research, but its cognitive underpinnings are not clearly specified. We propose that performance on FDI tasks primarily reflects the operations of the visuospatial and executive components of working memory. We tested this hypothesis in a dual-task experiment with a commonly used measure of FDI, the Hidden Figures Test. The results showed that performance on this test was impaired by concurrent performance of secondary tasks that primarily tap the visuospatial component (spatial tapping) and the executive component (2-back and random number generation), but was almost unaffected by other secondary tasks (simple tapping and articulatory suppression). Moreover, an analysis of secondary task performance ruled out the possibility of strategic trade-offs and revealed an intriguing dissociation for two different sets of "randomness" indices for the random number generation task. These results support the hypothesised mapping between FDI and working memory components and suggest that the dual-task paradigm can provide a useful way to bring underspecified constructs like FDI into closer alignment with theoretical ideas developed within cognitive psychology.
Miyake, A; Witzki, A H; Emerson, M J
Field dependence-independence (FDI) is a construct intensively investigated within cognitive style research, but its cognitive underpinnings are not clearly specified. We propose that performance on FDI tasks primarily reflects the operations of the visuospatial and executive components of working memory. We tested this hypothesis in a dual-task experiment with a commonly used measure of FDI, the Hidden Figures Test. The results showed that performance on this test was impaired by concurrent performance of secondary tasks that primarily tap the visuospatial component (spatial tapping) and the executive component (2-back and random number generation), but was almost unaffected by other secondary tasks (simple tapping and articulatory suppression). Moreover, an analysis of secondary task performance ruled out the possibility of strategic trade-offs and revealed an intriguing dissociation for two different sets of "randomness" indices for the random number generation task. These results support the hypothesised mapping between FDI and working memory components and suggest that the dual-task paradigm can provide a useful way to bring underspecified constructs like FDI into closer alignment with theoretical ideas developed within cognitive psychology.
Schweinsburg, Alecia D.; Schweinsburg, Brian C.; Medina, Krista Lisdahl; McQueeny, Tim; Brown, Sandra A.; Tapert, Susan F.
Some neurocognitive recovery occurs within a month of abstinence from heavy marijuana use, yet functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has revealed altered activation among recent and abstinent adult users. Here, we compared fMRI response during a spatial working memory (SWM) task between adolescent marijuana users with brief and sustained durations of abstinence. Participants were 13 recent users (2 – 7 days abstinent), 13 abstinent users (27 – 60 days abstinent), and 18 non-using controls, all ages 15 – 18. Groups were similar on demographics, had no psychiatric or medical disorders, and user groups were similar on substance histories. Teens performed a 2-back SWM task during fMRI. Groups performed similarly on the task, but recent users showed greater fMRI response in medial and left superior prefrontal cortices, as well as bilateral insula. Abstinent users had increased response in the right precentral gyrus (clusters ≥1328 μl, p<.05). This cross-sectional study did not examine changes in brain response among the same participants over time. Yet results suggests that adolescents who recently used marijuana show increased brain activity in regions associated with working memory updating and inhibition, compared to users with weeks to months of abstinence. This study preliminarily suggests that (1) recent marijuana use may disrupt neural connections associated with SWM and result in compensatory brain response, and (2) sustained abstinence from marijuana may be associated with improvements in SWM response among adolescents. PMID:21053763
Mattfeld, Aaron T; Whitfield-Gabrieli, Susan; Biederman, Joseph; Spencer, Thomas; Brown, Ariel; Fried, Ronna; Gabrieli, John D E
Prevailing neuropsychological models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) propose that ADHD arises from deficits in executive functions such as working memory, but accumulating clinical evidence suggests a dissociation between ADHD and executive dysfunctions. This study examined whether ADHD and working memory capacity are behaviorally and neurobiologically separable using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants diagnosed with ADHD in childhood who subsequently remitted or persisted in their diagnosis as adults were characterized at follow-up in adulthood as either impaired or unimpaired in spatial working memory relative to controls who never had ADHD. ADHD participants with impaired spatial working memory performed worse than controls and ADHD participants with unimpaired working memory during an n-back working memory task while being scanned. Both controls and ADHD participants with unimpaired working memory exhibited significant linearly increasing activation in the inferior frontal junction, precuneus, lingual gyrus, and cerebellum as a function of working-memory load, and these activations did not differ significantly between these groups. ADHD participants with impaired working memory exhibited significant hypoactivation in the same regions, which was significantly different than both control participants and ADHD participants with unimpaired working memory. These findings support both a behavioral and neurobiological dissociation between ADHD and working memory capacity.
Takeuchi, Hikaru; Taki, Yasuyuki; Sassa, Yuko; Hashizume, Hiroshi; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Fukushima, Ai; Kawashima, Ryuta
Working memory is the limited capacity storage system involved in the maintenance and manipulation of information over short periods of time. Previous imaging studies have suggested that the frontoparietal regions are activated during working memory tasks; a putative association between the structure of the frontoparietal regions and working memory performance has been suggested based on the analysis of individuals with varying pathologies. This study aimed to identify correlations between white matter and individual differences in verbal working memory performance in normal young subjects. We performed voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses using T1-weighted structural images as well as voxel-based analyses of fractional anisotropy (FA) using diffusion tensor imaging. Using the letter span task, we measured verbal working memory performance in normal young adult men and women (mean age, 21.7 years, SD=1.44; 42 men and 13 women). We observed positive correlations between working memory performance and regional white matter volume (rWMV) in the frontoparietal regions. In addition, FA was found to be positively correlated with verbal working memory performance in a white matter region adjacent to the right precuneus. These regions are consistently recruited by working memory. Our findings suggest that, among normal young subjects, verbal working memory performance is associated with various regions that are recruited during working memory tasks, and this association is not limited to specific parts of the working memory network.
Smithson, Lisa; Nicoladis, Elena
Physiological arousal that occurs during narrative production is thought to reflect emotional processing and cognitive effort (Bar-Haim et al. in Dev Psychobiol 44:238-249, 2004). The purpose of this study was to determine whether individual differences in visuospatial working memory and/or verbal working memory capacity predict physiological arousal in a narrative task. Visuospatial working memory was a significant predictor of skin conductance level (SCL); verbal working memory was not. When visuospatial working memory interference was imposed, visuospatial working memory was no longer a significant predictor of SCL. Visuospatial interference also resulted in a significant reduction in SCL. Furthermore, listener ratings of narrative quality were contingent upon the visuospatial working memory resources of the narrator. Potential implications for educators and clinical practitioners are discussed.
Brady, Timothy F.; Alvarez, George A.
A central question for models of visual working memory is whether the number of objects people can remember depends on object complexity. Some influential "slot" models of working memory capacity suggest that people always represent 3-4 objects and that only the fidelity with which these objects are represented is affected by object…
Hoskyn, Maureen; Tzoneva, Irina
The authors examined the nature of the working memory system that underlies age differences of young, preschool-aged children. Measures of working memory, short-term memory, articulation speed, general intelligence, and writing were administered to 166 Canadian preschool-aged children aged 3 to 5 years. Findings generally support the hypothesis…
Peters, Judith C.; Goebel, Rainer; Roelfsema, Pieter R.
If we search for an item, a representation of this item in our working memory guides attention to matching items in the visual scene. We can hold multiple items in working memory. Do all these items guide attention in parallel? We asked participants to detect a target object in a stream of objects while they maintained a second item in memory for…
Dretsch, Michael N.; Tipples, Jason
Deficits in working memory have been shown to contribute to poor performance on the Iowa Gambling Task [IGT: Bechara, A., & Martin, E.M. (2004). "Impaired decision making related to working memory deficits in individuals with substance addictions." "Neuropsychology," 18, 152-162]. Similarly, a secondary memory load task has been shown to impair…
Hartsuiker, Robert J.; Barkhuysen, Pashiera N.
In order to study the role of working memory in sentence formulation, we elicited errors of subject-verb agreement in spoken sentence completion, while speakers did or did not maintain an extrinsic memory load (a word list). We compared participants with low and high speaking spans (a measure of verbal working memory for sentence production). As…
Slevc, L. Robert
The role of working memory (WM) in sentence comprehension has received considerable interest, but little work has investigated how sentence production relies on memory mechanisms. Three experiments investigated speakers' tendency to produce syntactic structures that allow for early production of material that is accessible in memory. In Experiment…
Schmiedek, Florian; Hildebrandt, Andrea; Lovden, Martin; Wilhelm, Oliver; Lindenberger, Ulman
How to best measure working memory capacity is an issue of ongoing debate. Besides established complex span tasks, which combine short-term memory demands with generally unrelated secondary tasks, there exists a set of paradigms characterized by continuous and simultaneous updating of several items in working memory, such as the n-back, memory…
Kronenberger, William G.; Pisoni, David B.; Henning, Shirley C.; Colson, Bethany G.; Hazzard, Lindsey M.
Purpose: This study investigated the feasibility and efficacy of a working memory training program for improving memory and language skills in a sample of 9 children who are deaf (age 7-15 years) with cochlear implants (CIs). Method: All children completed the Cogmed Working Memory Training program on a home computer over a 5-week period.…
Bender, Andrew R; Raz, Naftali
Ability to form new associations between unrelated items is particularly sensitive to aging, but the reasons for such differential vulnerability are unclear. In this study, we examined the role of objective and subjective factors (working memory and beliefs about memory strategies) on differential relations of age with recognition of items and associations. Healthy adults (N = 100, age 21 to 79) studied word pairs, completed item and association recognition tests, and rated the effectiveness of shallow (e.g., repetition) and deep (e.g., imagery or sentence generation) encoding strategies. Advanced age was associated with reduced working memory (WM) capacity and poorer associative recognition. In addition, reduced WM capacity, beliefs in the utility of ineffective encoding strategies, and lack of endorsement of effective ones were independently associated with impaired associative memory. Thus, maladaptive beliefs about memory in conjunction with reduced cognitive resources account in part for differences in associative memory commonly attributed to aging.
Pomplun, Mark; Custer, Michael
This study examines the validity of the measures of verbal and nonverbal working memory on the Stanford-Binet Fifth Edition (SB5). The validity evidence included Rasch-based, criterion-referenced item mapping, correlations with other clinical measures of memory, and prediction of reading and mathematics scores. The item mapping clearly demonstrates a parallel between increasing item difficulty and a progression of item characteristics that placed increasing demands on verbal and nonverbal working memory. The higher correlations of the SB5 verbal and nonverbal working memory subtests with other measures of verbal and nonverbal memory, respectively, and lower correlations with nonverbal and verbal memory measures, respectively, clearly show convergent and divergent validity. The higher correlations between SB5 verbal working memory and reading skills and between SB5 nonverbal memory and mathematics skills are consistent with past research.
Dores, Artemisa R; Barbosa, Fernando; Carvalho, Irene P; Almeida, Isabel; Guerreiro, Sandra; da Rocha, Benedita M; de Sousa, Liliana; Castro-Caldas, Alexandre
The goal of this study was to propose a new functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm using a language-free adaptation of a 2-back working memory task to avoid cultural and educational bias. We additionally provide an index of the validity of the proposed paradigm and test whether the experimental task discriminates the behavioural performances of healthy participants from those of individuals with working memory deficits. Ten healthy participants and nine patients presenting working memory (WM) deficits due to acquired brain injury (ABI) performed the developed task. To inspect whether the paradigm activates brain areas typically involved in visual working memory (VWM), brain activation of the healthy participants was assessed with fMRIs. To examine the task's capacity to discriminate behavioural data, performances of the healthy participants in the task were compared with those of ABI patients. Data were analysed with GLM-based random effects procedures and t-tests. We found an increase of the BOLD signal in the specialized areas of VWM. Concerning behavioural performances, healthy participants showed the predicted pattern of more hits, less omissions and a tendency for fewer false alarms, more self-corrected responses, and faster reaction times, when compared with subjects presenting WM impairments. The results suggest that this task activates brain areas involved in VWM and discriminates behavioural performances of clinical and non-clinical groups. It can thus be used as a research methodology for behavioural and neuroimaging studies of VWM in block-design paradigms.
Sims, Chris R
Visual working memory (VWM) is a highly limited storage system. A basic consequence of this fact is that visual memories cannot perfectly encode or represent the veridical structure of the world. However, in natural tasks, some memory errors might be more costly than others. This raises the intriguing possibility that the nature of memory error reflects the costs of committing different kinds of errors. Many existing theories assume that visual memories are noise-corrupted versions of afferent perceptual signals. However, this additive noise assumption oversimplifies the problem. Implicit in the behavioral phenomena of visual working memory is the concept of a loss function: a mathematical entity that describes the relative cost to the organism of making different types of memory errors. An optimally efficient memory system is one that minimizes the expected loss according to a particular loss function, while subject to a constraint on memory capacity. This paper describes a novel theoretical framework for characterizing visual working memory in terms of its implicit loss function. Using inverse decision theory, the empirical loss function is estimated from the results of a standard delayed recall visual memory experiment. These results are compared to the predicted behavior of a visual working memory system that is optimally efficient for a previously identified natural task, gaze correction following saccadic error. Finally, the approach is compared to alternative models of visual working memory, and shown to offer a superior account of the empirical data across a range of experimental datasets.
Minear, Meredith; Brasher, Faith; McCurdy, Mark; Lewis, Jack; Younggren, Andrea
Ophir, Nass, and Wagner (Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences 106:15583-15587, 2009) reported that individuals who routinely engage in multiple forms of media use are actually worse at multitasking, possibly due to difficulties in ignoring irrelevant stimuli, from both external sources and internal representations in memory. Using the media multitasking index (MMI) developed by Ophir et al., we identified heavy media multitaskers (HMMs) and light media multitaskers (LMMs) and tested them on measures of attention, working memory, task switching, and fluid intelligence, as well as self-reported impulsivity and self-control. We found that people who reported engaging in heavy amounts of media multitasking reported being more impulsive and performed more poorly on measures of fluid intelligence than did those who did not frequently engage in media multitasking. However, we could find no evidence to support the contention that HMMs are worse in a multitasking situation such as task switching or that they show any deficits in dealing with irrelevant or distracting information, as compared with LMMs.
Sreenivasan, Kartik K.; Gratton, Caterina; Vytlacil, Jason; D’Esposito, Mark
Isolating the short-term storage component of working memory (WM) from the myriad of associated executive processes has been an enduring challenge. Recent efforts have identified patterns of activity in visual regions that contain information about items being held in WM. However, it remains unclear (i) whether these representations withstand intervening sensory input and (ii) how communication between multimodal association cortex and unimodal perceptual regions supporting WM representations is involved in WM storage. We present evidence that the features of a face held in WM are stored within face processing regions, that these representations persist across subsequent sensory input, and that information about the match between sensory input and memory representation is relayed forward from perceptual to prefrontal regions. Participants were presented with a series of probe faces and indicated whether each probe matched a Target face held in WM. We parametrically varied the feature similarity between probe and Target faces. Activity within face processing regions scaled linearly with the degree of feature similarity between the probe face and the features of the Target face, suggesting that the features of the Target face were stored in these regions. Furthermore, directed connectivity measures revealed that the direction of information flow that was optimal for performance was from sensory regions that stored the features of the Target face to dorsal prefrontal regions, supporting the notion that sensory input is compared to representations stored within perceptual regions and relayed forward. Together, these findings indicate that WM storage operations are carried out within perceptual cortex. PMID:24436009
Gasimova, Fidan; Robitzsch, Alexander; Wilhelm, Oliver; Boker, Steven M; Hu, Yueqin; Hülür, Gizem
In the present paper we investigate weekly fluctuations in the working memory capacity (WMC) assessed over a period of 2 years. We use dynamical system analysis, specifically a second order linear differential equation, to model weekly variability in WMC in a sample of 112 9th graders. In our longitudinal data we use a B-spline imputation method to deal with missing data. The results show a significant negative frequency parameter in the data, indicating a cyclical pattern in weekly memory updating performance across time. We use a multilevel modeling approach to capture individual differences in model parameters and find that a higher initial performance level and a slower improvement at the MU task is associated with a slower frequency of oscillation. Additionally, we conduct a simulation study examining the analysis procedure's performance using different numbers of B-spline knots and values of time delay embedding dimensions. Results show that the number of knots in the B-spline imputation influence accuracy more than the number of embedding dimensions.
Ando, J; Ono, Y; Wright, M J
Working memory (WM) encompasses both short-term memory (storage) and executive functions that play an essential role in all forms of cognition. In this study, the genetic structure of storage and executive functions engaged in both a spatial and verbal WM span task is investigated using a twin sample. The sample consists of 143 monozygotic (MZ) and 93 dizygotic (DZ) Japanese twin pairs, ages 16 to 29 years. In 155 (87 MZ, 62 DZ) of these pairs, cognitive ability scores from the Kyodai Japanese IQ test are also obtained. The phenotypic relationship between WM and cognitive ability is confirmed (r = 0.26-0.44). Individual differences in WM storage and executive functions are found to be significantly influenced by genes, with heritability estimates all moderately high (43%-49%), and estimates for cognitive ability comparable to previous studies (65%). A large part of the genetic variance in storage and executive functions in both spatial and verbal modalities is due to a common genetic factor that accounts for 11% to 43% of the variance. In the reduced sample, this common genetic factor accounts for 64% and 26% of the variance in spatial and verbal cognitive ability, respectively. Additional genetic variance in WM (7%-30%) is due to modality specific factors (spatial and verbal) and a storage specific factor that may be particularly important for the verbal modality. None of the variance in cognitive ability is accounted for by the modality and storage genetic factors, suggesting these may be specific to WM.
Miller, Lisa M Soederberg; Cohen, Jason A; Wingfield, Arthur
An experiment is reported in which young, middle-aged, and older adults read and recalled ambiguous texts either with or without the topic title that supplied contextual knowledge. Within each of the age groups, the participants were divided into those with high or low working memory (WM) spans, with available WM capacity further manipulated by the presence or absence of an auditory target detection task concurrent with the reading task. Differences in reading efficiency (reading time per proposition recalled) between low WM span and high WM span groups were greater among readers who had access to contextual knowledge relative to those who did not, suggesting that contextual knowledge reduces demands on WM capacity. This position was further supported by the finding that increased age and attentional demands, two factors associated with reduced WM capacity, exaggerated the benefits of contextual knowledge on reading efficiency. The relative strengths of additional potential predictors of reading efficiency (e.g., interest, effort, and memory beliefs), along with knowledge, WM span, and age, are reported. Findings showed that contextual knowledge was the strongest predictor of reading efficiency even after controlling for the effects of all of the other predictors.
Curci, Antonietta; Lanciano, Tiziana; Soleti, Emanuela; Rimé, Bernard
Following an emotional experience, individuals are confronted with the persistence of ruminative thoughts that disturb the undertaking of other activities. In the present study, we experimentally tested the idea that experiencing a negative emotion triggers a ruminative process that drains working memory (WM) resources normally devoted to other tasks. Undergraduate participants of high versus low WM capacity were administered the operation-word memory span test (OSPAN) as a measure of availability of WM resources preceding and following the presentation of negative emotional versus neutral material. Rumination was assessed immediately after the second OSPAN session and at a 24-hr delay. Results showed that both the individual's WM capacity and the emotional valence of the material influenced WM performance and the persistence of ruminative thoughts. Following the experimental induction, rumination mediated the relationship between the negative emotional state and the concomitant WM performance. Based on these results, we argue that ruminative processes deplete WM resources, making them less available for concurrent tasks; in addition, rumination tends to persist over time. These findings have implications for the theoretical modeling of the long-term effects of emotions in both daily life and clinical contexts.
Roberts, William A; Guitar, Nicole A; Marsh, Heidi L; MacDonald, Hayden
The interaction of working and reference memory was studied in rats on an eight-arm radial maze. In two experiments, rats were trained to perform working memory and reference memory tasks. On working memory trials, they were allowed to enter four randomly chosen arms for reward in a study phase and then had to choose the unentered arms for reward in a test phase. On reference memory trials, they had to learn to visit the same four arms on the maze on every trial for reward. Retention was tested on working memory trials in which the interval between the study and test phase was 15 s, 15 min, or 30 min. At each retention interval, tests were performed in which the correct WM arms were either congruent or incongruent with the correct RM arms. Both experiments showed that congruency interacted with retention interval, yielding more forgetting at 30 min on incongruent trials than on congruent trials. The effect of reference memory strength on the congruency effect was examined in Experiment 1, and the effect of associating different contexts with working and reference memory on the congruency effect was studied in Experiment 2.
Granot, Roni Y; Uzefovsky, Florina; Bogopolsky, Helena; Ebstein, Richard P
Previous genetic studies showed an association between variations in the gene coding for the 1a receptor of the neuro-hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) and musical working memory (WM). The current study set out to test the influence of intranasal administration (INA) of AVP on musical as compared to verbal WM using a double blind crossover (AVP-placebo) design. Two groups of 25 males were exposed to 20 IU of AVP in one session, and 20 IU of saline water (placebo) in a second session, 1 week apart. In each session subjects completed the tonal subtest from Gordon's "Musical Aptitude Profile," the interval subtest from the "Montreal Battery for Evaluation of Amusias (MBEA)," and the forward and backward digit span tests. Scores in the digit span tests were not influenced by AVP. In contrast, in the music tests there was an AVP effect. In the MBEA test, scores for the group receiving placebo in the first session (PV) were higher than for the group receiving vasopressin in the first session (VP) (p < 0.05) with no main Session effect nor Group × Session interaction. In the Gordon test there was a main Session effect (p < 0.05) with scores higher in the second as compared to the first session, a marginal main Group effect (p = 0.093) and a marginal Group × Session interaction (p = 0.88). In addition we found that the group that received AVP in the first session scored higher on scales indicative of happiness, and alertness on the positive and negative affect scale, (PANAS). Only in this group and only in the music test these scores were significantly correlated with memory scores. Together the results reflect a complex interaction between AVP, musical memory, arousal, and contextual effects such as session, and base levels of memory. The results are interpreted in light of music's universal use as a means to modulate arousal on the one hand, and AVP's influence on mood, arousal, and social interactions on the other.
Granot, Roni Y.; Uzefovsky, Florina; Bogopolsky, Helena; Ebstein, Richard P.
Previous genetic studies showed an association between variations in the gene coding for the 1a receptor of the neuro-hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) and musical working memory (WM). The current study set out to test the influence of intranasal administration (INA) of AVP on musical as compared to verbal WM using a double blind crossover (AVP—placebo) design. Two groups of 25 males were exposed to 20 IU of AVP in one session, and 20 IU of saline water (placebo) in a second session, 1 week apart. In each session subjects completed the tonal subtest from Gordon's “Musical Aptitude Profile,” the interval subtest from the “Montreal Battery for Evaluation of Amusias (MBEA),” and the forward and backward digit span tests. Scores in the digit span tests were not influenced by AVP. In contrast, in the music tests there was an AVP effect. In the MBEA test, scores for the group receiving placebo in the first session (PV) were higher than for the group receiving vasopressin in the first session (VP) (p < 0.05) with no main Session effect nor Group × Session interaction. In the Gordon test there was a main Session effect (p < 0.05) with scores higher in the second as compared to the first session, a marginal main Group effect (p = 0.093) and a marginal Group × Session interaction (p = 0.88). In addition we found that the group that received AVP in the first session scored higher on scales indicative of happiness, and alertness on the positive and negative affect scale, (PANAS). Only in this group and only in the music test these scores were significantly correlated with memory scores. Together the results reflect a complex interaction between AVP, musical memory, arousal, and contextual effects such as session, and base levels of memory. The results are interpreted in light of music's universal use as a means to modulate arousal on the one hand, and AVP's influence on mood, arousal, and social interactions on the other. PMID:24151474
Stanley, Matthew L; Simpson, Sean L; Dagenbach, Dale; Lyday, Robert G; Burdette, Jonathan H; Laurienti, Paul J
Working memory is a complex psychological construct referring to the temporary storage and active processing of information. We used functional connectivity brain network metrics quantifying local and global efficiency of information transfer for predicting individual variability in working memory performance on an n-back task in both young (n = 14) and older (n = 15) adults. Individual differences in both local and global efficiency during the working memory task were significant predictors of working memory performance in addition to age (and an interaction between age and global efficiency). Decreases in local efficiency during the working memory task were associated with better working memory performance in both age cohorts. In contrast, increases in global efficiency were associated with much better working performance for young participants; however, increases in global efficiency were associated with a slight decrease in working memory performance for older participants. Individual differences in local and global efficiency during resting-state sessions were not significant predictors of working memory performance. Significant group whole-brain functional network decreases in local efficiency also were observed during the working memory task compared to rest, whereas no significant differences were observed in network global efficiency. These results are discussed in relation to recently developed models of age-related differences in working memory.
Brecl Jakob, G; Remšak, T; Šega Jazbec, S; Horvat Ledinek, A; Rot, U
Balance and cognition are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). Cognitive-motor interference (CMI) is important for balance impairment in MS, however little is known about CMI at the earliest stages of the disease. Step initiation (SI) with anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) has been linked to postural instability and falls in subjects with MS, therefore we aimed to assess CMI between SI and the two storage systems of working memory in patients with clinically isolated syndrome (presented as optic neuritis-ON) suggestive of MS. Twenty patients with normal/near normal visual acuity and 20 age-, weight-, height-, sex- and education-matched control subjects were included. APAs were studied using center of pressure measures in three conditions: SI alone, SI+Brooks' spatial- and SI+2-back verbal working memory task. Decrements (% change) in performance on cognitive tasks and in APA parameters were calculated. CMI was assessed combining the two decrements scores. Performance on both cognitive tasks was more affected by dual-tasking in patients compared to healthy subjects. In both groups APA parameters were not influenced by dual-tasking. CMI was higher in patients compared to healthy subjects. Our results suggest that the disease affects CMI in its earliest stages. Since both cognitive tasks were similarly affected by dual-tasking in patients and controls central executive seems to play the major role in CMI between SI and working memory. Patients prioritizing motor over cognitive task for balance maintenance suggests reduced divided attention capacity as a cause of increased CMI in the earliest MS.
Li, Lin; Men, Wei-Wei; Chang, Yu-Kai; Fan, Ming-Xia; Ji, Liu; Wei, Gao-Xia
There is increasing evidence that acute aerobic exercise is associated with improved cognitive function. However, neural correlates of its cognitive plasticity remain largely unknown. The present study examined the effect of a session of acute aerobic exercise on working memory task-evoked brain activity as well as task performance. A within-subjects design with a counterbalanced order was employed. Fifteen young female participants (M = 19.56, SD = 0.81) were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a working memory task, the N-back task, both following an acute exercise session with 20 minutes of moderate intensity and a control rest session. Although an acute session of exercise did not improve behavioral performance, we observed that it had a significant impact on brain activity during the 2-back condition of the N-back task. Specifically, acute exercise induced increased brain activation in the right middle prefrontal gyrus, the right lingual gyrus, and the left fusiform gyrus as well as deactivations in the anterior cingulate cortexes, the left inferior frontal gyrus, and the right paracentral lobule. Despite the lack of an effect on behavioral measures, significant changes after acute exercise with activation of the prefrontal and occipital cortexes and deactivation of the anterior cingulate cortexes and left frontal hemisphere reflect the improvement of executive control processes, indicating that acute exercise could benefit working memory at a macro-neural level. In addition to its effects on reversing recent obesity and disease trends, our results provide substantial evidence highlighting the importance of promoting physical activity across the lifespan to prevent or reverse cognitive and neural decline.
Tusch, Erich S.; Alperin, Brittany R.; Ryan, Eliza; Holcomb, Phillip J.; Mohammed, Abdul H.; Daffner, Kirk R.
Computerized cognitive training (CCT) may counter the impact of aging on cognition, but both the efficacy and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying CCT remain controversial. In this study, 35 older individuals were randomly assigned to Cogmed adaptive working memory (WM) CCT or an active control CCT, featuring five weeks of five ∼40 min sessions per week. Before and after the 5-week intervention, event-related potentials were measured while subjects completed a visual n-back task with three levels of demand (0-back, 1-back, 2-back). The anterior P3a served as an index of directing attention and the posterior P3b as an index of categorization/WM updating. We hypothesized that adaptive CCT would be associated with decreased P3 amplitude at low WM demand and increased P3 amplitude at high WM demand. The adaptive CCT group exhibited a training-related increase in the amplitude of the anterior P3a and posterior P3b in response to target stimuli across n-back tasks, while subjects in the active control CCT group demonstrated a post-training decrease in the anterior P3a. Performance did not differ between groups or sessions. Larger overall P3 amplitudes were strongly associated with better task performance. Increased post-CCT P3 amplitude correlated with improved task performance; this relationship was especially robust at high task load. Our findings suggest that adaptive WM training was associated with increased orienting of attention, as indexed by the P3a, and the enhancement of categorization/WM updating processes, as indexed by the P3b. Increased P3 amplitude was linked to improved performance; however. there was no direct association between adaptive training and improved performance. PMID:27877122
Daffner, Kirk R; Chong, Hyemi; Sun, Xue; Tarbi, Elise C; Riis, Jenna L; McGinnis, Scott M; Holcomb, Phillip J
This study took advantage of the subsecond temporal resolution of ERPs to investigate mechanisms underlying age- and performance-related differences in working memory. Young and old subjects participated in a verbal n-back task with three levels of difficulty. Each group was divided into high and low performers based on accuracy under the 2-back condition. Both old subjects and low-performing young subjects exhibited impairments in preliminary mismatch/match detection operations (indexed by the anterior N2 component). This may have undermined the quality of information available for the subsequent decision-making process (indexed by the P3 component), necessitating the appropriation of more resources. Additional anterior and right hemisphere activity was recruited by old subjects. Neural efficiency and the capacity to allocate more resources to decision-making differed between high and low performers in both age groups. Under low demand conditions, high performers executed the task utilizing fewer resources than low performers (indexed by the P3 amplitude). As task requirements increased, high-performing young and old subjects were able to appropriate additional resources to decision-making, whereas their low-performing counterparts allocated fewer resources. Higher task demands increased utilization of processing capacity for operations other than decision-making (e.g., sustained attention) that depend upon a shared pool of limited resources. As demands increased, all groups allocated additional resources to the process of sustaining attention (indexed by the posterior slow wave). Demands appeared to have exceeded capacity in low performers, leading to a reduction of resources available to the decision-making process, which likely contributed to a decline in performance.
McCullick, Bryan; Schempp, Paul; Hsu, Shan-Hui; Jung, Jin Hong; Vickers, Brad; Schuknecht, Greg
A distinguishing characteristic of expert teachers appears to be an excellent memory (Berliner, 1986; Tan, 1997). Possessing an excellent memory aids experts in building a substantial knowledge base relative to teaching and learning. Despite its importance, the memory skills of expert teachers have yet to be investigated. Therefore, the purpose of…
Lucidi, Annalisa; Loaiza, Vanessa; Camos, Valérie; Barrouillet, Pierre
Working memory (WM) capacity measured through complex span tasks is among the best predictors of fluid intelligence (Gf). These tasks usually involve maintaining memoranda while performing complex cognitive activities that require a rather high level of education (e.g., reading comprehension, arithmetic), restricting their range of applicability. Because individual differences in such complex activities are nothing more than the concatenation of small differences in their elementary constituents, complex span tasks involving elementary processes should be as good of predictors of Gf as traditional tasks. The present study showed that two latent variables issued from either traditional or new span tasks involving time-constrained elementary activities were similarly correlated with Gf. Moreover, a model with a single unitary WM factor had a similar fit as a model with two distinct WM factors. Thus, time-constrained elementary activities can be integrated in WM tasks, permitting the assessment of WM in a wider range of populations.
Macizo, Pedro; Herrera, Amparo
The processing of two-digit numbers in comparison tasks involves the activation and manipulation of magnitude information to decide which number is larger. The present study explored the role of different working memory (WM) components and skills in the processing of two-digit numbers by examining the unit-decade compatibility effect with Arabic digits and number words. In the study, the unit-decade compatibility effect and different WM components were evaluated. The results indicated that the unit-decade compatibility effect was associated to specific WM skills depending on the number format (Arabic digits and number words). We discussed the implications of these results for the decomposed view of two-digit numbers.
Rieckmann, Anna; Pudas, Sara; Nyberg, Lars
Working memory (WM) entails maintenance and manipulation of information in the absence of sensory input. This study investigated the trajectories and neural basis of these component processes of WM functions in aging. Longitudinal human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data are presented from 136 older individuals (55-80 years) who were scanned at baseline and again 4 years later. We obtained evidence that age-related changes in parietal and frontal components of the WM core network are dissociable in terms of their role in maintenance of perceptual representations and further manipulation of this information, respectively. Individual difference analyses in performance subgroups showed that only prefrontal changes in fMRI activation were accompanied by changes in performance, but parietal brain activity was related to study dropout. We discuss the results in terms of possible neurobiological causes underlying separable aging-related declines in inferior parietal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex that differentially affect WM functions.
Cogan, Gregory B; Iyer, Asha; Melloni, Lucia; Thesen, Thomas; Friedman, Daniel; Doyle, Werner; Devinsky, Orrin; Pesaran, Bijan
Verbal working memory (vWM) involves storing and manipulating information in phonological sensory input. An influential theory of vWM proposes that manipulation is carried out by a central executive while storage is performed by two interacting systems: a phonological input buffer that captures sound-based information and an articulatory rehearsal system that controls speech motor output. Whether, when and how neural activity in the brain encodes these components remains unknown. Here we read out the contents of vWM from neural activity in human subjects as they manipulated stored speech sounds. As predicted, we identified storage systems that contained both phonological sensory and articulatory motor representations. Unexpectedly, however, we found that manipulation did not involve a single central executive but rather involved two systems with distinct contributions to successful manipulation. We propose, therefore, that multiple subsystems comprise the central executive needed to manipulate stored phonological input for articulatory motor output in vWM.
A substantial amount of literature has demonstrated individuals' tendency to code verbally a series of movements for subsequent recall. However, the mechanisms underlying movement encoding remain unclear. In this paper, I argue that sensorimotor expertise influences the involvement of motor processes to store movements in working memory. Experts in motor activities and individuals with limited motor expertise were compared in three experimental conditions assessing movement recall: (a) without suppression task, (b) with verbal suppression, and (c) with motor suppression. Athletes outperformed controls in movement recall, but the suppression tasks affected the two groups differently. Verbal suppression affected controls more than athletes, whereas the effect was reversed with motor suppression. Together, these findings suggest that controls and athletes favor different mechanisms to encode movements, either based on verbal or on motor processes, providing further evidence for a tight relationship between sensorimotor and cognitive processes.
Elisa, Rebecca N.; Balaguer-Ballester, Emili; Parris, Benjamin A.
Executive function deficits have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it has been theorized that the symptom inattention is specifically related to problems with complex verbal working memory (WM). Using the Conners Adult ADHD rating scale, adults aged 18–35 were assessed for ADHD symptoms, and completed tasks designed to tap verbal and spatial aspects of WM (Experiment 1). Results showed that high inattention predicted poor performance on both simple and complex verbal WM measures. Results relating to spatial WM were inconclusive. In a follow up experiment based on the theory that those with inattention have problems receiving verbal instructions, a measure of goal neglect assessing integration of information into a task model in WM was employed (Experiment 2). Results showed that high inattention uniquely predicted performance on this task, representing the first reported association between inattention and the phenomenon of goal neglect. The results from both experiments lend support to the WM theory of inattention. PMID:27713716
Martini, Markus; Furtner, Marco R.; Sachse, Pierre
Is there a relation between working memory (WM) and incidental sequence learning? Nearly all of the earlier investigations in the role of WM capacity (WMC) in sequence learning suggest no correlations in incidental learning conditions. However, the theoretical view of WM and operationalization of WMC made strong progress in recent years. The current study related performance in a coordination and transformation task to sequence knowledge in a four-choice incidental deterministic serial reaction time (SRT) task and a subsequent free generation task. The response-to-stimulus interval (RSI) was varied between 0 ms and 300 ms. Our results show correlations between WMC and error rates in condition RSI 0 ms. For condition RSI 300 ms we found relations between WMC and sequence knowledge in the SRT task as well as between WMC and generation task performance. Theoretical implications of these findings for ongoing processes during sequence learning and retrieval of sequence knowledge are discussed. PMID:23409148
Blakey, Emma; Carroll, Daniel J
Cognitive training has been shown to improve executive functions (EFs) in middle childhood and adulthood. However, fewer studies have targeted the preschool years-a time when EFs undergo rapid development. The present study tested the effects of a short four session EF training program in 54 four-year-olds. The training group significantly improved their working memory from pre-training relative to an active control group. Notably, this effect extended to a task sharing few surface features with the trained tasks, and continued to be apparent 3 months later. In addition, the benefits of training extended to a measure of mathematical reasoning 3 months later, indicating that training EFs during the preschool years has the potential to convey benefits that are both long-lasting and wide-ranging.
Macizo, P; Soriano, M F; Paredes, N
We evaluated phonological and visuospatial working memory (WM) in autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children and typically developing children were compared. We used WM tasks that measured phonological and visuospatial WM up to the capacity limit of each children. Overall measures of WM did not show differences between autistic children and control children. However, when the recall of children was examined in detail, autistic children showed reduced phonological WM compared with control children. Moreover, phonological and visuospatial WM did not increase with the age of autistic children while a development of phonological and visuospatial WM with age was found in control children. The pattern of results is discussed in terms of previous studies about WM and autism.
Chatham, Christopher H; Frank, Michael J; Badre, David
Convergent evidence suggests that corticostriatal interactions act as a gate to select the input to working memory (WM). However, not all information in WM is relevant for behavior simultaneously. For this reason, a second "output gate" might advantageously govern which contents of WM influence behavior. Here, we test whether frontostriatal circuits previously implicated in input gating also support output gating during selection from WM. fMRI of a hierarchical rule task with dissociable input and output gating demands demonstrated greater lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) recruitment and frontostriatal connectivity during output gating. Moreover, PFC and striatum correlated with distinct behavioral profiles. Whereas PFC recruitment correlated with mean efficiency of selection from WM, striatal recruitment and frontostriatal interactions correlated with its reliability, as though such dynamics stochastically gate WM's output. These results support the output gating hypothesis, suggesting that contextual representations in PFC influence striatum to select which information in WM drives responding.
Abstract Working memory (WM) entails maintenance and manipulation of information in the absence of sensory input. This study investigated the trajectories and neural basis of these component processes of WM functions in aging. Longitudinal human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data are presented from 136 older individuals (55–80 years) who were scanned at baseline and again 4 years later. We obtained evidence that age-related changes in parietal and frontal components of the WM core network are dissociable in terms of their role in maintenance of perceptual representations and further manipulation of this information, respectively. Individual difference analyses in performance subgroups showed that only prefrontal changes in fMRI activation were accompanied by changes in performance, but parietal brain activity was related to study dropout. We discuss the results in terms of possible neurobiological causes underlying separable aging-related declines in inferior parietal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex that differentially affect WM functions. PMID:28374009
Thompson, Todd W; Waskom, Michael L; Gabrieli, John D E
Working memory is central to human cognition, and intensive cognitive training has been shown to expand working memory capacity in a given domain. It remains unknown, however, how the neural systems that support working memory are altered through intensive training to enable the expansion of working memory capacity. We used fMRI to measure plasticity in activations associated with complex working memory before and after 20 days of training. Healthy young adults were randomly assigned to train on either a dual n-back working memory task or a demanding visuospatial attention task. Training resulted in substantial and task-specific expansion of dual n-back abilities accompanied by changes in the relationship between working memory load and activation. Training differentially affected activations in two large-scale frontoparietal networks thought to underlie working memory: the executive control network and the dorsal attention network. Activations in both networks linearly scaled with working memory load before training, but training dissociated the role of the two networks and eliminated this relationship in the executive control network. Load-dependent functional connectivity both within and between these two networks increased following training, and the magnitudes of increased connectivity were positively correlated with improvements in task performance. These results provide insight into the adaptive neural systems that underlie large gains in working memory capacity through training.
Palladino, Paola; Ferrari, Marcella
The study aimed to test whether working memory deficits in children at risk of Learning Disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be attributed to deficits in interference control, thereby implicating prefrontal systems. Two groups of children known for showing poor working memory (i.e., children with poor comprehension and children with ADHD) were compared to a group of children with specific reading decoding problems (i.e., having severe problems in phonological rather than working memory) and to a control group. All children were tested with a verbal working memory task. Interference control of irrelevant items was examined by a lexical decision task presented immediately after the final recall in about half the trials, selected at random. The interference control measure was therefore directly related to working memory performance. Results confirmed deficient working memory performance in poor comprehenders and children at risk of ADHD + LD. More interestingly, this working memory deficit was associated with greater activation of irrelevant information than in the control group. Poor decoders showed more efficient interference control, in contrast to poor comprehenders and ADHD + LD children. These results indicated that interfering items were still highly accessible to working memory in children who fail the working memory task. In turn, these findings strengthen and clarify the role of interference control, one of the most critical prefrontal functions, in working memory.
Opitz, Bertram; Schneiders, Julia A; Krick, Christoph M; Mecklinger, Axel
Previous research has shown a systematic relationship between phonological working memory capacity and second language proficiency for alphabetic languages. However, little is known about the impact of working memory processes on second language learning in a non-alphabetic language such as Mandarin Chinese. Due to the greater complexity of the Chinese writing system we expect that visual working memory rather than phonological working memory exerts a unique influence on learning Chinese characters. This issue was explored in the present experiment by comparing visual working memory training with an active (auditory working memory training) control condition and a passive, no training control condition. Training induced modulations in language-related brain networks were additionally examined using functional magnetic resonance imaging in a pretest-training-posttest design. As revealed by pre- to posttest comparisons and analyses of individual differences in working memory training gains, visual working memory training led to positive transfer effects on visual Chinese vocabulary learning compared to both control conditions. In addition, we found sustained activation after visual working memory training in the (predominantly visual) left infero-temporal cortex that was associated with behavioral transfer. In the control conditions, activation either increased (active control condition) or decreased (passive control condition) without reliable behavioral transfer effects. This suggests that visual working memory training leads to more efficient processing and more refined responses in brain regions involved in visual processing. Furthermore, visual working memory training boosted additional activation in the precuneus, presumably reflecting mental image generation of the learned characters. We, therefore, suggest that the conjoint activity of the mid-fusiform gyrus and the precuneus after visual working memory training reflects an interaction of working memory and