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.
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.
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…
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…
McDonald, Janet L.
This paper examines the role of age, working memory span and phonological ability in the mastery of ten different grammatical constructions. Six- through eleven-year-old children (n = 68) and adults (n = 19) performed a grammaticality judgment task as well as tests of working memory capacity and receptive phonological ability. Children showed…
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,…
Chang, Ting-Wen; Kinshuk; Chen, Nian-Shing; Yu, Pao-Ta
This study investigates the effects of successive and simultaneous information presentation methods on learner's visual search ability and working memory load for different information densities. Since the processing of information in the brain depends on the capacity of visual short-term memory (VSTM), the limited information processing capacity…
Hale, Sandra; Rose, Nathan S.; Myerson, Joel; Strube, Michael J; Sommers, Mitchell; Tye-Murray, Nancy; Spehar, Brent
The present study addresses three questions regarding age differences in working memory: (1) whether performance on complex span tasks decreases as a function of age at a faster rate than performance on simple span tasks; (2) whether spatial working memory decreases at a faster rate than verbal working memory; and (3) whether the structure of working memory abilities is different for different age groups. Adults, ages 20–89 (n=388), performed three simple and three complex verbal span tasks and three simple and three complex spatial memory tasks. Performance on the spatial tasks decreased at faster rates as a function of age than performance on the verbal tasks, but within each domain, performance on complex and simple span tasks decreased at the same rates. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that domain-differentiated models yielded better fits than models involving domain-general constructs, providing further evidence of the need to distinguish verbal and spatial working memory abilities. Regardless of which domain-differentiated model was examined, and despite the faster rates of decrease in the spatial domain, age group comparisons revealed that the factor structure of working memory abilities was highly similar in younger and older adults and showed no evidence of age-related dedifferentiation. PMID:21299306
Nevo, Einat; Bar-Kochva, Irit
This study investigated the relations of early working-memory abilities (phonological and visual-spatial short-term memory [STM] and complex memory and episodic buffer memory) and later developing reading skills. Sixty Hebrew-speaking children were followed from kindergarten through Grade 5. Working memory was tested in kindergarten and reading in…
Shipstead, Zach; Yonehiro, Jade
The degree to which visuospatial working memory (VSWM) is separable from working memory in general is an open question. On one hand, the construct is often researched as a unitary, domain-specific system. On the other, there is evidence that VWSM shares a common processing component with verbal memory. One might interpret this shared component as domain-general attention. We used confirmatory factor analysis to demonstrate that VSWM shares a domain-general component with verbal memory tasks and has a domain-specific component that is independent of verbal memory. Furthermore, the domain-general component was found to correlate with reasoning ability in both the visuospatial and verbal domains. The domain-specific component only correlated with reasoning ability when the tests had a strong visuospatial component. We argue that theories of VSWM need to place greater emphasis on its multiply determined nature.
Nevo, Einat; Breznitz, Zvia
Working memory (WM) plays a crucial role in supporting learning, including reading. This study investigated the influence of reading acceleration and WM training programs on improving reading skills and WM abilities. Ninety-seven children in third grade were divided into three study groups and one control group. The three study groups each received a different combination of two training programs: only reading acceleration, WM followed by reading acceleration, and reading acceleration followed by WM. All training programs significantly improved reading skills and WM abilities. Compared with the control group, the group trained with only the reading acceleration program improved word accuracy, whereas the groups trained with a combination of reading and WM programs improved word and pseudo-word fluency. The reading-acceleration-alone group and the WM-program-followed-by-reading-acceleration group improved phonological complex memory. We conclude that a training program that combines a long reading acceleration program and a short WM program is the most effective for improving the abilities most related to scholastic achievement.
Boudewyn, Megan A.; Long, Debra L.; Traxler, Matthew J.; Lesh, Tyler A.; Dave, Shruti; Mangun, George R.; Carter, Cameron S.; Swaab, Tamara Y.
The establishment of reference is essential to language comprehension. The goal of this study was to examine listeners’ sensitivity to referential ambiguity as a function of individual variation in attention, working memory capacity, and verbal ability. Participants listened to stories in which two entities were introduced that were either very similar (e.g., two oaks) or less similar (e.g., one oak and one elm). The manipulation rendered an anaphor in a subsequent sentence (e.g., oak) ambiguous or unambiguous. EEG was recorded as listeners comprehended the story, after which participants completed tasks to assess working memory, verbal ability, and the ability to use context in task performance. Power in the alpha and theta frequency bands when listeners received critical information about the discourse entities (e.g., oaks) was used to index attention and the involvement of the working memory system in processing the entities. These measures were then used to predict an ERP component that is sensitive to referential ambiguity, the Nref, which was recorded when listeners received the anaphor. Nref amplitude at the anaphor was predicted by alpha power during the earlier critical sentence: Individuals with increased alpha power in ambiguous compared with unambiguous stories were less sensitive to the anaphor's ambiguity. Verbal ability was also predictive of greater sensitivity to referential ambiguity. Finally, increased theta power in the ambiguous compared with unambiguous condition was associated with higher working-memory span. These results highlight the role of attention and working memory in referential processing during listening comprehension. PMID:26401815
Boudewyn, Megan A; Long, Debra L; Traxler, Matthew J; Lesh, Tyler A; Dave, Shruti; Mangun, George R; Carter, Cameron S; Swaab, Tamara Y
The establishment of reference is essential to language comprehension. The goal of this study was to examine listeners' sensitivity to referential ambiguity as a function of individual variation in attention, working memory capacity, and verbal ability. Participants listened to stories in which two entities were introduced that were either very similar (e.g., two oaks) or less similar (e.g., one oak and one elm). The manipulation rendered an anaphor in a subsequent sentence (e.g., oak) ambiguous or unambiguous. EEG was recorded as listeners comprehended the story, after which participants completed tasks to assess working memory, verbal ability, and the ability to use context in task performance. Power in the alpha and theta frequency bands when listeners received critical information about the discourse entities (e.g., oaks) was used to index attention and the involvement of the working memory system in processing the entities. These measures were then used to predict an ERP component that is sensitive to referential ambiguity, the Nref, which was recorded when listeners received the anaphor. Nref amplitude at the anaphor was predicted by alpha power during the earlier critical sentence: Individuals with increased alpha power in ambiguous compared with unambiguous stories were less sensitive to the anaphor's ambiguity. Verbal ability was also predictive of greater sensitivity to referential ambiguity. Finally, increased theta power in the ambiguous compared with unambiguous condition was associated with higher working-memory span. These results highlight the role of attention and working memory in referential processing during listening comprehension.
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…
McNab, Fiona; Zeidman, Peter; Rutledge, Robb B; Smittenaar, Peter; Brown, Harriet R; Adams, Rick A; Dolan, Raymond J
A weakened ability to effectively resist distraction is a potential basis for reduced working memory capacity (WMC) associated with healthy aging. Exploiting data from 29,631 users of a smartphone game, we show that, as age increases, working memory (WM) performance is compromised more by distractors presented during WM maintenance than distractors presented during encoding. However, with increasing age, the ability to exclude distraction at encoding is a better predictor of WMC in the absence of distraction. A significantly greater contribution of distractor filtering at encoding represents a potential compensation for reduced WMC in older age.
Sansavini, Alessandra; Guarini, Annalisa; Alessandroni, Rosina; Faldella, Giacomo; Giovanelli, Giuliana; Salvioli, Gianpaolo
There have been few investigations of the effects of very immature preterm birth on specific linguistic competencies and phonological working memory at preschool age. Study 1 aimed to investigate early grammatical abilities in very immature healthy preterms, taking into account their cognitive development and biological and social factors. The…
Meneghetti, Chiara; Gyselinck, Valerie; Pazzaglia, Francesca; De Beni, Rossana
The present study investigates the relation between spatial ability and visuo-spatial and verbal working memory in spatial text processing. In two experiments, participants listened to a spatial text (Experiments 1 and 2) and a non-spatial text (Experiment 1), at the same time performing a spatial or a verbal concurrent task, or no secondary task.…
Khurana, Atika; Romer, Daniel; Betancourt, Laura M.; Brodsky, Nancy L.; Giannetta, Joan M.; Hurt, Hallam
Although deficits in working memory ability have been implicated in suboptimal decision making and risk taking among adolescents, its influence on early sexual initiation has so far not been examined. Analyzing 2 waves of panel data from a community sample of adolescents (N = 347; Mean age[subscript baseline] = 13.4 years), assessed 1 year apart,…
Adams, Anne-Marie; Simmons, Fiona; Willis, Catherine; Pawling, Ralph
In order to communicate understanding, students are often required to produce texts which present an explicit, coherent argument. This study examined the extent to which individual differences in undergraduates' topic knowledge and working memory skills were related to their ability to revise texts to better fulfil these goals. Forty-seven…
The present study examined whether various indices of interference control were related to one another and to other cognitive abilities. It was found that the interference control measures were weakly correlated and could form a single factor that was related to overall memory performance on the tasks as well as to measures of working memory…
Gevins, A; Smith, M E
The capacity to deliberately control attention in order to hold and manipulate information in working memory is critical to higher cognitive functions. This suggests that between-subject differences in general cognitive ability might be related to observable differences in the activity of brain systems that support working memory and attention control. To test this notion, electroencephalograms were recorded from 80 healthy young adults during spatial working memory tasks. Measures of task-related neurophysiological and behavioral variables were derived from these data and compared to scores on a test battery commonly used to assess general cognitive ability (the WAIS-R). Subjects who scored high on the psychometric test also tended to respond faster in the experimental tasks without any loss of accuracy. The amplitude of the late positive component of the event-related potential was larger in high-ability subjects, and the frontal midline theta component of the EEG signal was also selectively enhanced in this group under conditions of sustained performance and high working memory load. These results suggest that subjects who scored high on the WAIS-R were better able to focus and sustain attention to task performance. Changes in the EEG alpha rhythm in response to manipulations of task practice and load were also examined and compared between frontal and parietal regions. The results indicated that high-ability subjects developed strategies that made relatively greater use of parietal regions, whereas low-ability subjects relied more exclusively on frontal regions. Other analyses indicated that hemispheric asymmetries in alpha band measures distinguish between individuals with relatively high verbal aptitude and those with relatively high nonverbal aptitude. In particular, subjects with a verbal cognitive style tended to make greater use of the left parietal region during task performance, and subjects with a nonverbal style tended to make greater use of the right
Khurana, Atika; Romer, Daniel; Betancourt, Laura M; Brodsky, Nancy L; Giannetta, Joan M; Hurt, Hallam
Although deficits in working memory ability have been implicated in suboptimal decision making and risk taking among adolescents, its influence on early sexual initiation has so far not been examined. Analyzing 2 waves of panel data from a community sample of adolescents (N = 347; Mean age[baseline] = 13.4 years), assessed 1 year apart, the present study tested the hypothesis that weak working memory ability predicts early sexual initiation and explored whether this relationship is mediated by sensation seeking and 2 forms of impulsivity, namely acting-without-thinking and temporal discounting. The 2 forms of impulsivity were expected to be positively associated with early sexual initiation, whereas sensation seeking was hypothesized to be unrelated or to have a protective influence, due to its positive association with working memory. Results obtained from structural equation modeling procedures supported these predictions and in addition showed that the effects of 3 prominent risk factors (Black racial identity, low socioeconomic background, and early pubertal maturation) on early sexual initiation were entirely mediated by working memory and impulsivity. The findings are discussed in regard to their implications for preventing early sexual onset among adolescents.
Badcock, Johanna C; Michiel, Patricia T; Rock, Danny
Working memory may be conceptualized as a multi-component system involving the active maintenance and manipulation of stored information in the service of planning/guiding behaviour. Impaired spatial working memory is a robust finding in schizophrenia patients which has been related to an impairment in frontostriatal connectivity. The purpose of this study was to examine the specificity of this impairment by comparing the mnemonic and executive aspects of working memory performance in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychotic features, focusing particularly on the functional dynamics between task components. Twenty-four patients with schizophrenia, 14 patients with bipolar I disorder (manic phase) and 33 healthy control subjects were assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB): including the spatial working memory (between search errors and strategy scores) spatial span (storage capacity) and spatial planning (Stockings of Cambridge: accuracy and latency) tasks. Both patient groups were impaired on the spatial span task, which requires the maintenance and retrieval of stored information. In contrast, only schizophrenia patients showed a significant deficit in between search errors, which requires both maintenance and manipulation of information in working memory. That is, they exhibited both a mnemonic and an executive dysfunction. Spatial span was particularly important to accurate planning ability in bipolar patients. In contrast, in patients with schizophrenia poor spatial working memory was a significant predictor of planning impairments, consistent with failures in goal selection, evaluation and/or execution. Furthermore, initial planning time was positively correlated with the latency to complete a planning sequence. This pattern of slow cognitive processing in schizophrenia patients only, resembled that reported previously in patients with basal ganglia disorders. These findings are discussed in terms of a possible
Leue, Anja; Weber, Bernd; Beauducel, André
Conflict monitoring is a process of stimulus evaluation and a pre-requisite for subsequent recruitment of cognitive control and behavioral adaptations. This study investigated how experimentally manipulated working-memory-related cognitive demand and aversive reinforcement modulate individual differences of conflict monitoring intensity and behavioral adjustments. Individual differences were assessed by means of an anxiety-related trait dimension (trait-BIS) and by means of reasoning abilities-a core determinant of intelligence. Moreover, we investigated the special role of verbal reasoning ability and figural reasoning ability for the modulation of the conflict monitoring intensity. Ninety participants performed a go/nogo task with four conditions each comprising a combination of low vs. high working-memory-related cognitive demand and low vs. high aversive reinforcement. No effect of aversive reinforcement was observed for the N2 amplitude. The fronto-central nogo N2 amplitude was more pronounced for high demand vs. low demand suggesting that cognitive demand served as an aversive costly event. Higher total reasoning abilities were associated with more intense conflict monitoring and shorter response times with increasing aversive reinforcement (defined as verbal error-feedback vs. monetary loss). Individuals with higher trait-BIS scores demonstrated a more intense conflict monitoring even in conditions with low aversive reinforcement and also a more cautious responding (i.e., response times slowing) with increasing aversive reinforcement indicating a focus on negative feedback prevention. The findings provide evidence for the conflict monitoring theory and suggest that working-memory-related demand overrules the impact of aversive reinforcement on conflict monitoring intensity. Reasoning abilities and anxiety-related traits go along with an intensification of conflict monitoring but differences in the flexibility of behavioral adjustment.
Leue, Anja; Weber, Bernd; Beauducel, André
Conflict monitoring is a process of stimulus evaluation and a pre-requisite for subsequent recruitment of cognitive control and behavioral adaptations. This study investigated how experimentally manipulated working-memory-related cognitive demand and aversive reinforcement modulate individual differences of conflict monitoring intensity and behavioral adjustments. Individual differences were assessed by means of an anxiety-related trait dimension (trait-BIS) and by means of reasoning abilities—a core determinant of intelligence. Moreover, we investigated the special role of verbal reasoning ability and figural reasoning ability for the modulation of the conflict monitoring intensity. Ninety participants performed a go/nogo task with four conditions each comprising a combination of low vs. high working-memory-related cognitive demand and low vs. high aversive reinforcement. No effect of aversive reinforcement was observed for the N2 amplitude. The fronto-central nogo N2 amplitude was more pronounced for high demand vs. low demand suggesting that cognitive demand served as an aversive costly event. Higher total reasoning abilities were associated with more intense conflict monitoring and shorter response times with increasing aversive reinforcement (defined as verbal error-feedback vs. monetary loss). Individuals with higher trait-BIS scores demonstrated a more intense conflict monitoring even in conditions with low aversive reinforcement and also a more cautious responding (i.e., response times slowing) with increasing aversive reinforcement indicating a focus on negative feedback prevention. The findings provide evidence for the conflict monitoring theory and suggest that working-memory-related demand overrules the impact of aversive reinforcement on conflict monitoring intensity. Reasoning abilities and anxiety-related traits go along with an intensification of conflict monitoring but differences in the flexibility of behavioral adjustment. PMID:24782739
Ramirez, Gerardo; Gunderson, Elizabeth A; Levine, Susan C; Beilock, Sian L
Spatial ability is a strong predictor of students' pursuit of higher education in science and mathematics. However, very little is known about the affective factors that influence individual differences in spatial ability, particularly at a young age. We examine the role of spatial anxiety in young children's performance on a mental rotation task. We show that even at a young age, children report experiencing feelings of nervousness at the prospect of engaging in spatial activities. Moreover, we show that these feelings are associated with reduced mental rotation ability among students with high but not low working memory (WM). Interestingly, this WM × spatial anxiety interaction was only found among girls. We discuss these patterns of results in terms of the problem-solving strategies that boys versus girls use in solving mental rotation problems.
Bayliss, Donna M.; Jarrold, Christopher; Baddeley, Alan D.; Leigh, Eleanor
This study examined the factors that constrain the working memory span performance and reading ability of individuals with generalized learning difficulties. In the study, 50 individuals with learning difficulties (LD) and 50 typically developing children (TD) matched for reading age completed two working memory span tasks. Participants also…
Kaufman, Scott Barry
Sex differences in spatial ability are well documented, but poorly understood. In order to see whether working memory is an important factor in these differences, 50 males and 50 females performed tests of three-dimensional mental rotation and spatial visualization, along with tests of spatial and verbal working memory. Substantial differences…
Wass, Christopher; Pizzo, Alessandro; Sauce, Bruno; Kawasumi, Yushi; Sturzoiu, Tudor; Ree, Fred; Otto, Tim; Matzel, Louis D.
A common source of variance (i.e., "general intelligence") underlies an individual's performance across diverse tests of cognitive ability, and evidence indicates that the processing efficacy of working memory may serve as one such source of common variance. One component of working memory, selective attention, has been reported to…
Costa, Hiwet Mariam; Purser, Harry R. M.; Passolunghi, Maria Chiara
Working memory (WM) skills of individuals with Down’s syndrome (DS) tend to be very poor compared to typically developing children of similar mental age. In particular, research has found that in individuals with DS visuo-spatial WM is better preserved than verbal WM. This study investigated whether it is possible to train short-term memory (STM) and WM abilities in individuals with DS. The cases of two teenage children are reported: EH, 17 years and 3 months, and AS, 15 years and 11 months. A school-based treatment targeting visuo-spatial WM was given to EH and AS for six weeks. Both prior to and after the treatment, they completed a set of assessments to measure WM abilities and their performance was compared with younger typically developing non-verbal mental age controls. The results showed that the trained participants improved their performance in some of the trained and non-trained WM tasks proposed, especially with regard to the tasks assessing visuo-spatial WM abilities. These findings are discussed on the basis of their theoretical, educational, and clinical implications. PMID:26441713
Redick, Thomas S; Shipstead, Zach; Meier, Matthew E; Montroy, Janelle J; Hicks, Kenny L; Unsworth, Nash; Kane, Michael J; Hambrick, D Zachary; Engle, Randall W
Previous research has identified several cognitive abilities that are important for multitasking, but few studies have attempted to measure a general multitasking ability using a diverse set of multitasks. In the final dataset, 534 young adult subjects completed measures of working memory (WM), attention control, fluid intelligence, and multitasking. Correlations, hierarchical regression analyses, confirmatory factor analyses, structural equation models, and relative weight analyses revealed several key findings. First, although the complex tasks used to assess multitasking differed greatly in their task characteristics and demands, a coherent construct specific to multitasking ability was identified. Second, the cognitive ability predictors accounted for substantial variance in the general multitasking construct, with WM and fluid intelligence accounting for the most multitasking variance compared to attention control. Third, the magnitude of the relationships among the cognitive abilities and multitasking varied as a function of the complexity and structure of the various multitasks assessed. Finally, structural equation models based on a multifaceted model of WM indicated that attention control and capacity fully mediated the WM and multitasking relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record
Souza, Alessandra S
Maintenance of information in mind to the moment-to-moment cognition is accomplished by working memory (WM). WM capacity is reduced in old age, but the nature of this decline is yet not clear. The current study examined the hypothesis that the decline in visual WM performance with age is related to a reduced ability to use attention to control the contents of WM. Young (M = 26 years) and old (M = 71 years) adults performed a color reproduction task in which the precise color of a set of dots had to be maintained in mind over a brief interval and later reproduced using a continuous color wheel. Attention was manipulated by presenting a spatial cue before the onset of the memory array (a precue) or during the maintenance phase (retro-cue). The cue indicated with 100% certainty the item to be tested at the end of the trial. A precue allows the selective encoding of only the relevant item to WM, whereas a retro-cue allows WM contents to be updated by refreshing the relevant (cued) item and removing nonrelevant (noncued) items. Aging was associated with a lower capacity in the baseline (no-cue) condition. Precues and (to a smaller extent) retro-cues improved WM performance (in terms of probability of recall and memory precision). Critically, the benefits of cueing were of similar magnitude in young and older adults showing that the ability to use attention to selectively encode and update the contents of WM is preserved with aging. (PsycINFO Database Record
Toll, Sylke W. M.; Van Luit, Johannes E. H.
Research has proven limited working memory skills to be a high risk factor for educational underachievement in mathematics across the primary school years. Less is known, however, about the performance of children with limited working memory skills in early numeracy tasks. The main purpose of the two studies reported in this article is to explore…
Hamilton, Nancy Jo
Reading is a process that requires the enactment of many cognitive processes. Each of these processes uses a certain amount of working memory resources, which are severely constrained by biology. More efficiency in the function of working memory may mediate the biological limits of same. Reading relevancy instructions may be one such method to…
Van de Weijer-Bergsma, Eva; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H; Van Luit, Johannes E H
The relative importance of visual-spatial and verbal working memory for mathematics performance and learning seems to vary with age, the novelty of the material, and the specific math domain that is investigated. In this study, the relations between verbal and visual-spatial working memory and performance in four math domains (i.e., addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) at different ages during primary school are investigated. Children (N = 4337) from grades 2 through 6 participated. Visual-spatial and verbal working memory were assessed using online computerized tasks. Math performance was assessed at the start, middle, and end of the school year using a speeded arithmetic test. Multilevel Multigroup Latent Growth Modeling was used to model individual differences in level and growth in math performance, and examine the predictive value of working memory per grade, while controlling for effects of classroom membership. The results showed that as grade level progressed, the predictive value of visual-spatial working memory for individual differences in level of mathematics performance waned, while the predictive value of verbal working memory increased. Working memory did not predict individual differences between children in their rate of performance growth throughout the school year. These findings are discussed in relation to three, not mutually exclusive, explanations for such age-related findings.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of two cognitive factors (i.e. working memory capacity [WMC] and language analytic ability [LAA]) in the extent to which L2 learners benefit from two different types of feedback (i.e. explicit correction and recasts). Forty-eight adult native speakers of English, who had no previous exposure to…
Gyselinck, Valerie; Meneghetti, Chiara; De Beni, Rossana; Pazzaglia, Francesca
This study investigated the construction of a spatial model in relation to working memory (WM) and visuospatial abilities. Participants were trained to use either imagery or verbal strategies to process route spatial texts. Results obtained on a free recall task, a verification test and a graphic representation task showed the beneficial effect of…
Marusiak, Christopher W.; Janzen, Henry L.
The present study investigated the working memory abilities of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as measured by the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition (SBV). In a retrospective causal-comparative design, the archival data of 46 ADHD children were compared to 59 nondiagnosed children. The ADHD children…
Joseph, Holly S. S. L.; Bremner, Georgina; Liversedge, Simon P.; Nation, Kate
We investigated the time course of anaphor resolution in children and whether this is modulated by individual differences in working memory and reading skill. The eye movements of 30 children (10–11 years) were monitored as they read short paragraphs in which (1) the semantic typicality of an antecedent and (2) its distance in relation to an anaphor were orthogonally manipulated. Children showed effects of distance and typicality on the anaphor itself and also on the word to the right of the anaphor, suggesting that anaphoric processing begins immediately but continues after the eyes have left the anaphor. Furthermore, children showed no evidence of resolving anaphors in the most difficult condition (distant atypical antecedent), suggesting that anaphoric processing that is demanding may not occur online in children of this age. Finally, working memory capacity and reading comprehension skill affect the magnitude and time course of typicality and distance effects during anaphoric processing. PMID:26246891
Wass, Christopher; Pizzo, Alessandro; Sauce, Bruno; Kawasumi, Yushi; Sturzoiu, Tudor; Ree, Fred; Otto, Tim; Matzel, Louis D.
A common source of variance (i.e., “general intelligence”) underlies an individual's performance across diverse tests of cognitive ability, and evidence indicates that the processing efficacy of working memory may serve as one such source of common variance. One component of working memory, selective attention, has been reported to co-vary with general intelligence, and dopamine D1 signaling in prefrontal cortex can modulate attentional abilities. Based on their aggregate performance across five diverse tests of learning, here we characterized the general cognitive ability (GCA) of CD-1 outbred mice. In response to a D1 agonist (SKF82958, 1 mg/kg), we then assessed the relationship between GCA and activation of D1 receptor (D1R)-containing neurons in the prelimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex, the agranular insular cortex, and the dorsomedial striatum. Increased activation of D1R-containing neurons in the prelimbic cortex (but not the agranular insular cortex or dorsomedial striatum) was observed in animals of high GCA relative to those of low GCA (quantified by c-Fos activation in response to the D1 agonist). However, a Western blot analysis revealed no differences in the density of D1Rs in the prelimbic cortex between animals of high and low GCA. Last, it was observed that working memory training promoted an increase in animals’ GCA and enhanced D1R-mediated neuronal activation in the prelimbic cortex. These results suggest that the sensitivity (but not density) of D1Rs in the prelimbic cortex may both regulate GCA and be a target for working memory training. PMID:24129098
Nelson, Jason M; Lindstrom, Will; Foels, Patricia A
Test anxiety and its correlates were examined with college students with and without specific reading disability (RD; n = 50 in each group). Results indicated that college students with RD reported higher test anxiety than did those without RD, and the magnitude of these differences was in the medium range on two test anxiety scales. Relative to college students without RD, up to 5 times as many college students with RD reported clinically significant test anxiety. College students with RD reported significantly higher cognitively based test anxiety than physically based test anxiety. Reading skills, verbal ability, and processing speed were not correlated with test anxiety. General intelligence, nonverbal ability, and working memory were negatively correlated with test anxiety, and the magnitude of these correlations was medium to large. When these three cognitive constructs were considered together in multiple regression analyses, only working memory and nonverbal ability emerged as significant predictors and varied based on the test anxiety measure. Implications for assessment and intervention are discussed.
Unsworth, Nash; Engle, Randall W.
Research has suggested that short-term memory and working memory (as measured by simple and complex span tasks, respectively) are separate constructs that are differentially related to higher order cognitive abilities. This claim is critically evaluated by reviewing research that has compared simple and complex span tasks in both experimental and…
Pina, Violeta; Fuentes, Luis J.; Castillo, Alejandro; Diamantopoulou, Sofia
It is assumed that children’s performance in mathematical abilities is influenced by several factors such as working memory (WM), verbal ability, intelligence, and socioeconomic status. The present study explored the contribution of those factors to mathematical performance taking a componential view of both WM and mathematics. We explored the existing relationship between different WM components (verbal and spatial) with tasks that make differential recruitment of the central executive, and simple and complex mathematical skills in a sample of 102 children in grades 4–6. The main findings point to a relationship between the verbal WM component and complex word arithmetic problems, whereas language and non-verbal intelligence were associated with knowledge of quantitative concepts and arithmetic ability. The spatial WM component was associated with the subtest Series, whereas the verbal component was with the subtest Concepts. The results also suggest a positive relationship between parental educational level and children’s performance on Quantitative Concepts. These findings suggest that specific cognitive skills might be trained in order to improve different aspects of mathematical ability. PMID:24847306
Arsic, Sladjana; Eminovic, Fadilj; Stankovic, Ivona
Calculia is considered to be the ability of performing arithmetic operations, the preconditions for the development of mathematical skills in the complex functioning of psychological functions represented in neuro-anatomical systems, as well in the interaction with the environment. Problems in acquiring arithmetic skills can be described as…
Nash, Hannah; Heath, James
Thirteen children and young adults with Down syndrome (DS) completed tests of language and reading and their performance was compared to that of three control groups. Reading comprehension was confirmed to be a specific deficit in DS and found to be strongly correlated with underlying language skills. Although reading comprehension was more strongly related to language ability in the DS group, this was shown to be a function of more advanced word recognition rather than a characteristic of DS per se. Individuals with DS were found to have greater difficulty with inferential comprehension questions than expected given their overall comprehension ability and the reading profile associated with DS was found to be similar to that of children known as poor comprehenders. It is recommended that oral language training programs, similar to those that have been shown to improve reading comprehension in poor comprehenders, be trialed with children who have DS.
Moura, Ricardo; Wood, Guilherme; Pinheiro-Chagas, Pedro; Lonnemann, Jan; Krinzinger, Helga; Willmes, Klaus; Haase, Vitor Geraldi
Transcoding between numerical systems is one of the most basic abilities acquired by children during their early school years. One important topic that requires further exploration is how mathematics proficiency can affect number transcoding. The aim of the current study was to investigate transcoding abilities (i.e., reading Arabic numerals and writing dictation) in Brazilian children with and without mathematics difficulties, focusing on different school grades. We observed that children with learning difficulties in mathematics demonstrated lower achievement in number transcoding in both early and middle elementary school. In early elementary school, difficulties were observed in both the basic numerical lexicon and the management of numerical syntax. In middle elementary school, difficulties appeared mainly in the transcoding of more complex numbers. An error analysis revealed that the children with mathematics difficulties struggled mainly with the acquisition of transcoding rules. Although we confirmed the previous evidence on the impact of working memory capacity on number transcoding, we found that it did not fully account for the observed group differences. The results are discussed in the context of a maturational lag in number transcoding ability in children with mathematics difficulties.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Gregory, David
Literacy problems are highly prevalent and can persist into adulthood. Yet, the majority of research on the predictive nature of cognitive skills to literacy has primarily focused on development and adolescent populations. The aim of the present study was to extend existing research to investigate the roles of IQ scores and Working Memory…
The relation between working memory capacity (WMC) and recall from long-term memory (LTM) was examined in the current study. Participants performed multiple measures of delayed free recall varying in presentation duration and self-reported their strategy usage after each task. Participants also performed multiple measures of WMC. The results…
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,…
performance as the number of call signs are increased from 5 to 7 in the presence of PI. Additionally, this study seeks to understand if individual...differences in working memory and attention predict performance on the multiaircraft control radio communication task through the application of the... Performance Measures ..................................................................................................17 Results
Krumm, Stefan; Schmidt-Atzert, Lothar; Buehner, Markus; Ziegler, Matthias; Michalczyk, Kurt; Arrow, Katrin
The current study examined basic cognitive abilities that are related to or included in the concept of working memory (WM): different WM components, three executive functions, simple short-term storage (STM), and sustained attention. Tasks were selected from well-established models and balanced in terms of content. The predictive power of storage…
The Influence of Cognitive Reasoning Level, Cognitive Restructuring Ability, Disembedding Ability, Working Memory Capacity, and Prior Knowledge On Students' Performance On Balancing Equations by Inspection.
Staver, John R.; Jacks, Tom
Investigates the influence of five cognitive variables on high school students' performance on balancing chemical equations by inspection. Reports that reasoning, restructuring, and disembedding variables could be a single variable, and that working memory capacity does not influence overall performance. Results of hierarchical regression analysis…
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
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…
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…
Alesi, Marianna; Rappo, Gaetano; Pepi, Annamaria
One of the most significant current discussions has led to the hypothesis that domain-specific training programs alone are not enough to improve reading achievement or working memory abilities. Incremental or Entity personal conceptions of intelligence may be assumed to be an important prognostic factor to overcome domain-specific deficits. Specifically, incremental students tend to be more oriented toward change and autonomy and are able to adopt more efficacious strategies. This study aims at examining the effect of personal conceptions of intelligence to strengthen the efficacy of a multidimensional intervention program in order to improve decoding abilities and working memory. Participants included two children (M age = 10 years) with developmental dyslexia and different conceptions of intelligence. The children were tested on a whole battery of reading and spelling tests commonly used in the assessment of reading disabilities in Italy. Afterwards, they were given a multimedia test to measure motivational factors such as conceptions of intelligence and achievement goals. The children took part in the T.I.R.D. Multimedia Training for the Rehabilitation of Dyslexia (Rappo and Pepi, 2010) reinforced by specific units to improve verbal working memory for 3 months. This training consisted of specific tasks to rehabilitate both visual and phonological strategies (sound blending, word segmentation, alliteration test and rhyme test, letter recognition, digraph recognition, trigraph recognition, and word recognition as samples of visual tasks) and verbal working memory (rapid words and non-words recognition). Posttest evaluations showed that the child holding the incremental theory of intelligence improved more than the child holding a static representation. On the whole this study highlights the importance of treatment programs in which both specificity of deficits and motivational factors are both taken into account. There is a need to plan multifaceted intervention
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.
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.
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…
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
Sargent, Jesse Q; Zacks, Jeffrey M; Hambrick, David Z; Zacks, Rose T; Kurby, Christopher A; Bailey, Heather R; Eisenberg, Michelle L; Beck, Taylor M
Memory for everyday events plays a central role in tasks of daily living, autobiographical memory, and planning. Event memory depends in part on segmenting ongoing activity into meaningful units. This study examined the relationship between event segmentation and memory in a lifespan sample to answer the following question: Is the ability to segment activity into meaningful events a unique predictor of subsequent memory, or is the relationship between event perception and memory accounted for by general cognitive abilities? Two hundred and eight adults ranging from 20 to 79years old segmented movies of everyday events and attempted to remember the events afterwards. They also completed psychometric ability tests and tests measuring script knowledge for everyday events. Event segmentation and script knowledge both explained unique variance in event memory above and beyond the psychometric measures, and did so as strongly in older as in younger adults. These results suggest that event segmentation is a basic cognitive mechanism, important for memory across the lifespan.
Costa, G; Sartori, S
The current paper reports the main results of several studies carried out on Italian workers using the work ability index as a complementary tool for workers' periodical health surveillance. The work ability index shows a general decreasing trend over the years, but it changes differently according to working conditions and personal health status. In jobs with higher mental involvement and autonomy, but lower physical constraint, it remains quite constant and high over the years, while it significantly decreases with a steeper trend the higher the physical work load and the lower the job control are. Sex and working hours appear to act concurrently in influencing work ability, particularly in association with more physically demanding jobs. It is therefore necessary to adopt flexible interventions, able to give ageing shift workers a proper support for maintaining a satisfactory work ability, by means of actions addressed both to work organization and psycho-physical conditions.
Schiebener, Johannes; Brand, Matthias
In decisions under objective risk conditions information about the decision options' possible outcomes and the rules for outcomes' occurrence are provided. Thus, deciders can base decision-making strategies on probabilistic laws. In many laboratory decision-making tasks, choosing the option with the highest winning probability in all trials (=maximization strategy) is probabilistically regarded the most rational behavior. However, individuals often behave less optimal, especially in case the individuals have lower cognitive functions or in case no feedback about consequences is provided in the situation. It is still unclear which cognitive functions particularly predispose individuals for using successful strategies and which strategies profit from feedback. We investigated 195 individuals with two decision-making paradigms, the Game of Dice Task (GDT) (with and without feedback), and the Card Guessing Game. Thereafter, participants reported which strategies they had applied. Interaction effects (feedback × strategy), effect sizes, and uncorrected single group comparisons suggest that feedback in the GDT tended to be more beneficial to individuals reporting exploratory strategies (e.g., use intuition). In both tasks, the self-reported use of more principled and more rational strategies was accompanied by better decision-making performance and better performances in reasoning and executive functioning tasks. The strategy groups did not significantly differ in most short-term and working-memory tasks. Thus, particularly individual differences in reasoning and executive functions seem to predispose individuals toward particular decision-making strategies. Feedback seems to be useful for individuals who rather explore the decision-making situation instead of following a certain plan.
gF, measured by the RAPM and the Cattell Culture Fair Test ( Cattell , 1973) produced I-CA brain activity that was depicted in a path model with both...1971). Abilities: Their structure, growth, and action. NY: Houghton Mifflin. Cattell , R. B. (1973). Measuring intelligence with the culture fair ...given unfamiliar (non-academic) content of the problem ( Cattell , 1971, p.99). In this regard gF tests could be more important than crystallized
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
Pike, Meredith; Swank, Paul; Taylor, Heather; Landry, Susan; Barnes, Marcia A
Children with spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM) are more likely to display a pattern of good-decoding/poor comprehension than their neurologically intact peers. The goals of the current study were to (1) examine the cognitive origins of one of the component skills of comprehension, bridging inferences, from a developmental perspective and (2) to test the effects of those relations on reading comprehension achievement. Data from a sample of children with SBM and a control group (n = 78) who participated in a longitudinal study were taken from age 36-month and 9.5-year time points. A multiple mediation model provided evidence that three preschool cognitive abilities (working memory/inhibitory control, oral comprehension, narrative recall), could partially explain the relation between group and bridging inference skill. A second mediation model supported that each of the 36-month abilities had an indirect effect on reading comprehension through bridging inference skill. Findings contribute to an understanding of both typical and atypical comprehension development, blending theories from the developmental, cognitive, and neuropsychological literature.
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…
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…
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…
Sargent, Jesse Q.; Zacks, Jeffrey M.; Hambrick, David Z.; Zacks, Rose T.; Kurby, Christopher A.; Bailey, Heather R.; Eisenberg, Michelle L.; Beck, Taylor M.
Memory for everyday events plays a central role in tasks of daily living, autobiographical memory, and planning. Event memory depends in part on segmenting ongoing activity into meaningful units. This study examined the relationship between event segmentation and memory in a lifespan sample to answer the following question: Is the ability to segment activity into meaningful events a unique predictor of subsequent memory, or is the relationship between event perception and memory accounted for by general cognitive abilities? Two hundred and eight adults ranging from 20 to 79 years old segmented movies of everyday events and attempted to remember the events afterwards. They also completed psychometric ability tests and tests measuring script knowledge for everyday events. Event segmentation and script knowledge both explained unique variance in event memory above and beyond the psychometric measures, and did so as strongly in older as in younger adults. These results suggest that event segmentation is a basic cognitive mechanism, important for memory across the lifespan. PMID:23942350
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.
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.
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
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…
Vicari, S; Brizzolara, D; Carlesimo, G A; Pezzini, G; Volterra, V
Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic condition characterised by intellectual disability, typical facial dysmorphology and several medical anomalies. A specific neuropsychological profile with a dissociation between language (relatively preserved) and visuo-spatial abilities (more seriously impaired) has been hypothesised in these children. Memory abilities of these patients have not been adequately investigated, although they may substantially contribute to better understanding their neuropsychological profile. The present study aimed at investigating verbal and spatial memory in patients with WS (N = 16). Their performance was compared with that of normally developing children on tasks of verbal and spatial span and immediate and delayed recall of verbal and visuo-perceptual materials. Memory abilities of WS children appear to be characterised by defective visuo-spatial memory, both in the short-term and long-term domain, and a dissociation between normal short- but deficient long-term verbal learning. Results are interpreted by supporting the thesis that intellectual disability reflects the defective functioning of a complex system in which some cognitive competencies may be disrupted more than others (Detterman, 1987; Vicari, Albertini and Caltagirone, 1992).
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
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.
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.
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
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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…
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…
Sehulster, J R
The notion of a person's memory style (elaborated in Sehulster, 1988) was investigated as it relates to the presentation of self. A memory style is defined as a combination of a subject's (perceived) ability in verbal memory, auto- biographical memory, and prospective memory, as measured by the Memory Scale (Sehulster, 1981b). In addition to filling out the Memory Scale, 325 subjects completed a 72-item questionnaire that tapped descriptions of abilities and experiences. The range of abilities and experiences was drawn loosely from Gardner's (1985) notion of multiple intelligences. Distinct patterns of self-report were observed for different memory styles. For instance, a love of listening to music was associated with the memory style that is high in both verbal and autobiographical memory but low in prospective memory; a love for numbers and mathematics was associated with the memory style that is high in both verbal and prospective memory but low in autobiographical memory. The results suggest broad individual differences in information processing. Gender differences are discussed in relation to memory styles.
Ishioka, Yoshiko; Gondo, Yasuyuki; Masui, Yukie; Nakagawa, Takeshi; Tabuchi, Megumi; Ogawa, Madoka; Kamide, Kei; Ikebe, Kazunori; Arai, Yasumichi; Ishizaki, Tatsuro; Takahashi, Ryutaro
This study examined the associations between the complexity of an individual's primary lifetime occupation and his or her late-life memory and reasoning performance, using data from 824 community-dwelling participants aged 69-72 years. The complexity of work with data, people, and things was evaluated based on the Japanese job complexity score. The associations between occupational complexity and participant's memory and reasoning abilities were examined in multiple regression analyses. An association was found between more comple work with people and higher memory performance, as well as between more complex work with data and higher reasoning performance, after having controlled for gender, school records, and education. Further, an interaction effect was observed between gender and complexity of work with data in relation to reasoning performance: work involving a high degree of complexity with data was associated with high reasoning performance in men. These findings suggest the need to consider late-life cognitive functioning within the context of adulthood experiences, specifically those related to occupation and gender.
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…
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…
Mäkelä, Kasper; Hirvensalo, Mirja
In the physical education (PE) teachers' profession, physical tasks comprise a large part of the job. PE teachers identify their health as good, and they are satisfied with their job. Nevertheless, the work ability of PE teachers may be decreasing. Purpose: The purpose of this article was to explore the work ability of Finnish PE teachers. What…
Numbers, Katya T; Meade, Michelle L; Perga, Vladimir A
In this study, we examined whether increasing the proportion of false information suggested by a confederate would influence the magnitude of socially introduced false memories in the social contagion paradigm Roediger, Meade, & Bergman (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 8:365-371, 2001). One participant and one confederate collaboratively recalled items from previously studied household scenes. During collaboration, the confederate interjected 0 %, 33 %, 66 %, or 100 % false items. On subsequent individual-recall tests across three experiments, participants were just as likely to incorporate misleading suggestions from a partner who was mostly accurate (33 % incorrect) as they were from a partner who was not at all accurate (100 % incorrect). Even when participants witnessed firsthand that their partner had a very poor memory on a related memory task, they were still as likely to incorporate the confederate's entirely misleading suggestions on subsequent recall and recognition tests (Exp. 2). Only when participants witnessed firsthand that their partner had a very poor memory on a practice test of the experimental task itself were they able to reduce false memory, and this reduction occurred selectively on a subsequent individual recognition test (Exp. 3). These data demonstrate that participants do not always consider their partners' memory ability when working on collaborative memory tasks.
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.
Hunt, Kathryn; Chittka, Lars
Our memory is often surprisingly inaccurate, with errors ranging from misremembering minor details of events to generating illusory memories of entire episodes. The pervasiveness of such false memories generates a puzzle: in the face of selection pressure for accuracy of memory, how could such systematic failures have persisted over evolutionary time? It is possible that memory errors are an inevitable by-product of our adaptive memories and that semantic false memories are specifically connected to our ability to learn rules and concepts and to classify objects by category memberships. Here we test this possibility using a standard experimental false memory paradigm and inter-individual variation in verbal categorisation ability. Indeed it turns out that the error scores are significantly negatively correlated, with those individuals scoring fewer errors on the categorisation test being more susceptible to false memory intrusions in a free recall test. A similar trend, though not significant, was observed between individual categorisation ability and false memory susceptibility in a word recognition task. Our results therefore indicate that false memories, to some extent, might be a by-product of our ability to learn rules, categories and concepts. PMID:25254105
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.…
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
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…
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…
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,…
Matzel, Louis D.; Grossman, Henya; Light, Kenneth; Townsend, David; Kolata, Stefan
A defining characteristic of age-related cognitive decline is a deficit in general cognitive performance. Here we use a testing and analysis regimen that allows us to characterize the general learning abilities of young (3-5 mo old) and aged (19-21 mo old) male and female Balb/C mice. Animals' performance was assessed on a battery of seven diverse…
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.
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
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…
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.
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
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,…
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…
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…
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.
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
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…
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…
Reese, Celinda M.; Cherry, Katie E.
The authors examined the effects of age and ability (as measured by education and verbal ability) on self-reported memory functioning in adulthood. In Study 1, the age and ability groups responded similarly to the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (D. E. Broadbent, P. F. Cooper, P. Fitzgerald, & K. R. Parkes, 1982), but differences emerged when the…
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…
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…
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Sampaio, Adriana; Sousa, Nuno; Fernandez, Montse; Henriques, Margarida; Goncalves, Oscar F.
Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder often described as being characterized by a dissociative cognitive architecture, in which profound impairments of visuo-spatial cognition contrast with relative preservation of linguistic, face recognition and auditory short-memory abilities. This asymmetric and dissociative cognition…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
Bayliss, Donna M; Jarrold, Christopher
This study examined the contribution of individual differences in rate of forgetting to variation in working memory performance in children. One hundred and twelve children (mean age 9 years 4 months) completed 2 tasks designed to measure forgetting, as well as measures of working memory, processing efficiency, and short-term storage ability. Individual differences in forgetting rate accounted for unique variance in working memory performance over and above variance explained by measures of processing efficiency and storage ability. In addition, the nature of the variation in forgetting was more consistent with a nonexecutive forgetting parameter than an executive ability associated with resistance to interference. These findings indicate that individual differences in the rate at which information is lost from memory is an important constraint on children's working memory performance, which has implications for current models of working memory that do not incorporate such a factor.
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.
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…
Johnson, Wendy; Logie, Robert H.; Brockmole, James R.
Researchers interested in working memory have debated whether it should be considered a single latent cognitive ability or a set of essentially independent latent abilities distinguished by domain-specific memory and/or processing resources. Simultaneously, researchers interested in cognitive aging have established that there are substantial…
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…
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.
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.
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…
Kapustin, A V
The regulating documents and published data were analyzed to define the general and professional working-capacity. New principles were formulated, on this basis, to compose a table of a persistent loss of general working-capacity expressed in percentage.
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.
Schleepen, Tamara M. J.; Jonkman, Lisa M.
In adults, the ability to apply semantic grouping strategies has been found to depend on working memory. To investigate this relation in children, two sort-recall tasks (one without and one with a grouping instruction) were administered to 6-12-year-olds. The role of working memory was examined by means of mediation analyses and by assessing…
Acheson, Daniel J.; Hamidi, Massihullah; Binder, Jeffrey R.; Postle, Bradley R.
Verbal working memory (VWM), the ability to maintain and manipulate representations of speech sounds over short periods, is held by some influential models to be independent from the systems responsible for language production and comprehension [e.g., Baddeley, A. D. "Working memory, thought, and action." New York, NY: Oxford University Press,…
Bayliss, Donna M.; Jarrold, Christopher
This study examined the contribution of individual differences in rate of forgetting to variation in working memory performance in children. One hundred and twelve children (mean age 9 years 4 months) completed 2 tasks designed to measure forgetting, as well as measures of working memory, processing efficiency, and short-term storage ability.…
Kolkman, Meijke E.; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H.; Leseman, Paul P. M.
The ability to connect numbers and magnitudes is an important prerequisite for math learning, here referred to as number-magnitude skills. It has been proposed that working memory plays an important role in constructing these connections. The aim of the current study was to examine if working memory accounts for constructing these connections by…
Lee, Kerry; Ng, Swee-Fong; Ng, Ee-Lynn; Lim, Zee-Ying
Previous studies on individual differences in mathematical abilities have shown that working memory contributes to early arithmetic performance. In this study, we extended the investigation to algebraic word problem solving. A total of 151 10-year-olds were administered algebraic word problems and measures of working memory, intelligence quotient…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Adams, Anne-Marie; Willis, Catherine; Eaglen, Rachel; Lamont, Emily
This study investigates whether working memory skills of children are related to teacher ratings of their progress towards learning goals at the time of school entry, at 4 or 5 years of age. A sample of 194 children was tested on measures of working memory, phonological awareness, and non-verbal ability, in addition to the school-based baseline…
Wiest, Dudley J.; Wong, Eugene H.; Minero, Laura P.; Pumaccahua, Tessy T.
Working memory has been well documented as a significant predictor of academic outcomes (e.g., reading and math achievement as well as general life outcomes). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of computerized cognitive training to improve both working memory and encoding abilities in a school setting. Thirty students…
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
... 20 Employees' Benefits 3 2014-04-01 2014-04-01 false Application-ability to work. 604.4 Section... ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION § 604.4 Application—ability to work. (a) A State may consider an... all or a portion of the week claimed, provided any limitation on his or her ability to work does...
... 20 Employees' Benefits 3 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Application-ability to work. 604.4 Section... ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION § 604.4 Application—ability to work. (a) A State may consider an... all or a portion of the week claimed, provided any limitation on his or her ability to work does...
... 20 Employees' Benefits 3 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Application-ability to work. 604.4 Section... ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION § 604.4 Application—ability to work. (a) A State may consider an... all or a portion of the week claimed, provided any limitation on his or her ability to work does...
... 20 Employees' Benefits 3 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Application-ability to work. 604.4 Section... ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION § 604.4 Application—ability to work. (a) A State may consider an... all or a portion of the week claimed, provided any limitation on his or her ability to work does...
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.
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
Scolari, Miranda; Vogel, Edward K; Awh, Edward
Despite its central role in cognition, capacity in visual working memory is restricted to about three or four items. Curby and Gauthier (2007) examined whether perceptual expertise can help to overcome this limit by enabling more efficient coding of visual information. In line with this, they observed higher capacity estimates for upright than for inverted faces, suggesting that perceptual expertise enhances visual working memory. In the present work, we examined whether the improved capacity estimates for upright faces indicates an increased number of "slots" in working memory, or improved resolution within the existing slots. Our results suggest that perceptual expertise enhances the resolution but not the number of representations that can be held in working memory. These results clarify the effects of perceptual expertise in working memory and support recent suggestions that number and resolution represent distinct facets of working memory ability.
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 grade. A sample of 97 children who participated in Nevo and Breznitz's earlier study [Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109 (2011) 73-90] were divided into two groups according to their decoding skills, resulting in 24 poor decoders and 73 typical decoders. The entire cohort improved significantly on all of the working memory measures from kindergarten to first grade, with the phonological complex memory at both time points showing the highest correlations with reading skills at first grade. However, there were differences found between the two decoding groups, with poor decoders exhibiting lower working memory abilities in most working memory measures, performing significantly lower on tests of all three reading skills (decoding, reading comprehension, and reading speed), and showing higher correlation coefficients between reading skills. Findings suggest that even before formal teaching of reading begins, it is important to reinforce working memory abilities in order to maximize future reading achievements.
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.
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.
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.
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
... 20 Employees' Benefits 3 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Application-ability to work. 604.4 Section... ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION § 604.4 Application—ability to work. (a) A State may consider an individual to be able to work during the week of unemployment claimed if the individual is able to work...
Fandakova, Yana; Sander, Myriam C; Werkle-Bergner, Markus; Shing, Yee Lee
Memory performance increases during childhood and adolescence, and decreases in old age. Among younger adults, better ability to bind items to the context in which they were experienced is associated with higher working memory performance (Oberauer, 2005). Here, we examined the extent to which age differences in binding contribute to life span age differences in short-term memory (STM). Younger children (N = 85; 10 to 12 years), teenagers (N = 41; 13 to 15 years), younger adults (N = 84; 20 to 25 years), and older adults (N = 86; 70 to 75 years) worked on global and local short-term recognition tasks that are assumed to measure item and item-context memory, respectively. Structural equation models showed that item-context bindings are functioning less well in children and older adults compared with younger adults and teenagers. This result suggests protracted development of the ability to form and recollect detailed short-term memories, and decline of this ability in aging. Across all age groups, better item-context binding was associated with higher working memory performance, indicating that developmental differences in binding mechanisms are closely related to working memory development in childhood and old age.
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.
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.
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.
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.…
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…
Ariës, Roel Jacobus; Groot, Wim; van den Brink, Henriette Maassen
Secondary school pupils underachieve in tests in which reasoning abilities are required. Brain-based training of working memory (WM) may improve reasoning abilities. In this study, we use a brain-based training programme based on historical content to enhance reasoning abilities in history courses. In the first experiment, a combined intervention…
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
Injoque-Ricle, Irene; Barreyro, Juan Pablo; Formoso, Jesica; Jaichenco, Virginia I.
Simultaneous interpreting is a complex bilingual verbal activity that involves the auditory perception of an oral communication and the production of a coherent discourse. One of the cognitive functions underlying simultaneous interpreting is working memory. The aim of this work was to study the relationship between expertise, working memory capacity and articulatory suppression effect, and the ability to perform simultaneous interpreting. For this purpose, four working memory tasks and one simultaneous interpreting task were administered to thirty Spanish-speaking professional English interpreters. Results showed that simultaneous interpreting ability might be supported by the working memory´s capacity to store or process information, but also by the ability of the interpreter to cope with the articulatory suppression effect. We conclude that interpreters may have or develop resources to support the effect caused by articulatory suppression. PMID:26207153
Repovs, G; Baddeley, A
There are a number of ways one can hope to describe and explain cognitive abilities, each of them contributing a unique and valuable perspective. Cognitive psychology tries to develop and test functional accounts of cognitive systems that explain the capacities and properties of cognitive abilities as revealed by empirical data gathered by a range of behavioral experimental paradigms. Much of the research in the cognitive psychology of working memory has been strongly influenced by the multi-component model of working memory [Baddeley AD, Hitch GJ (1974) Working memory. In: Recent advances in learning and motivation, Vol. 8 (Bower GA, ed), pp 47-90. New York: Academic Press; Baddeley AD (1986) Working memory. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press; Baddeley A. Working memory: Thought and action. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press]. By expanding the notion of a passive short-term memory to an active system that provides the basis for complex cognitive abilities, the model has opened up numerous questions and new lines of research. In this paper we present the current revision of the multi-component model that encompasses a central executive, two unimodal storage systems: a phonological loop and a visuospatial sketchpad, and a further component, a multimodal store capable of integrating information into unitary episodic representations, termed episodic buffer. We review recent empirical data within experimental cognitive psychology that has shaped the development of the multicomponent model and the understanding of the capacities and properties of working memory. Research based largely on dual-task experimental designs and on neuropsychological evidence has yielded valuable information about the fractionation of working memory into independent stores and processes, the nature of representations in individual stores, the mechanisms of their maintenance and manipulation, the way the components of working memory relate to each other, and the role they play in other
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
Hruska, Pam; Krigolson, Olav; Coderre, Sylvain; McLaughlin, Kevin; Cortese, Filomeno; Doig, Christopher; Beran, Tanya; Wright, Bruce; Hecker, Kent G.
Clinical reasoning is dependent upon working memory (WM). More precisely, during the clinical reasoning process stored information within long-term memory is brought into WM to facilitate the internal deliberation that affords a clinician the ability to reason through a case. In the present study, we examined the relationship between clinical…
Chapman, Sandra B.; Gamino, Jacquelyn F.; Cook, Lori G.; Hanten, Gerri; Li, Xiaoqi; Levin, Harvey S.
Emerging evidence suggests that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in childhood may disrupt the ability to abstract the central meaning or gist-based memory from connected language (discourse). The current study adopts a novel approach to elucidate the role of immediate and working memory processes in producing a cohesive and coherent gist-based text…
Waring, Rebecca; Eadie, Patricia; Liow, Susan Rickard; Dodd, Barbara
While little is known about why children make speech errors, it has been hypothesized that cognitive-linguistic factors may underlie phonological speech sound disorders. This study compared the phonological short-term and phonological working memory abilities (using immediate memory tasks) and receptive vocabulary size of 14 monolingual preschool…
Van der Molen, M. J.; Van Luit, J. E. H.; Van der Molen, M. W.; Klugkist, I.; Jongmans, M. J.
Background: The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a computerised working memory (WM) training on memory, response inhibition, fluid intelligence, scholastic abilities and the recall of stories in adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities attending special education. Method: A total of 95 adolescents with…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Passolunghi, Maria Chiara
The aim of the present study was to investigate the contribution of working memory and verbal ability (measured by vocabulary) to mathematical skills in children. A sample of 206 seven- and eight-year-olds was administered tests of these cognitive skills. A different pattern emerged that was dependent on both the memory task and the math skill. In…
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.
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
Nevo, Einat; Breznitz, Zvia
The ability of working memory skills (measured by tasks assessing all four working memory components), IQ, language, phonological awareness, literacy, rapid naming, and speed of processing at 6years of age, before reading was taught, to predict reading abilities (decoding, reading comprehension, and reading time) a year later was examined in 97 children. Among all working memory components, phonological complex memory contributed most to predicting all three reading abilities. A capacity measure of phonological complex memory, based on passing a minimum threshold in those tasks, contributed to the explained variance of decoding and reading comprehension. Findings suggest that a minimal ability of phonological complex memory is necessary for children to attain a normal reading level. Adding assessment of phonological complex memory, before formal teaching of reading begins, to more common measures might better estimate children's likelihood of future academic success.
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
Nevo, Einat; Breznitz, Zvia
The ability of working memory skills (measured by tasks assessing all four working memory components), IQ, language, phonological awareness, literacy, rapid naming, and speed of processing at 6 years of age, before reading was taught, to predict reading abilities (decoding, reading comprehension, and reading time) a year later was examined in 97…
Robey, Alison; Buckingham-Howes, Stacy; Salmeron, Betty Jo; Black, Maureen M.; Riggins, Tracy
This investigation examined how prospective memory (PM) relates to cognitive abilities (i.e., executive function, attention, working memory, and retrospective memory), and brain structure in adolescents who vary in prenatal drug exposure (PDE). The sample included 105 (55 female, 50 male) urban, primarily African American adolescents (mean age 15.5 years) from low socioeconomic status (SES) families; 56% (n=59) were prenatally exposed to drugs (heroin and/or cocaine) and 44% (n=46) were not prenatally exposed, but similar in age, gender, race, and SES. Executive functioning, attentional control, working memory, retrospective memory, and overall cognitive ability were assessed by validated performance measures. Executive functioning was also measured by caregiver report. A subset of 52 adolescents completed MRI scans, which provided measures of subcortical gray matter volumes and thickness of prefrontal, parietal and temporal cortices. Results revealed no differences in PM performance by PDE status, even after adjusting for age and IQ. Executive function, retrospective memory, cortical thickness in frontal and parietal regions, and volume of subcortical regions (i.e., putamen and hippocampus) were related to PM performance in the sample overall, even after adjusting for age, IQ, and total gray matter volume. Findings suggest that variations in PM ability during adolescence are robustly related to individual differences in cognitive abilities, in particular executive function and retrospective memory, and brain structure, but do not vary by PDE status. PMID:24630759
Schmiedek, Florian; Hildebrandt, Andrea; Lövdén, Martin; Lindenberger, Ulman; Wilhelm, Oliver
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 updating, or alpha span tasks. With a latent variable analysis (N = 96) based on content-heterogeneous operationalizations of both task families, the authors found a latent correlation between a complex span factor and an updating factor that was not statistically different from unity (r = .96). Moreover, both factors predicted fluid intelligence (reasoning) equally well. The authors conclude that updating tasks measure working memory equally well as complex span tasks. Processes involved in building, maintaining, and updating arbitrary bindings may constitute the common working memory ability underlying performance on reasoning, complex span, and updating tasks.
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…
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.
Oemisch, Mariann; Johnston, Kevin; Paré, Martin
Working memory is a limited-capacity cognitive process that retains relevant information temporarily to guide thoughts and behavior. A large body of work has suggested that catecholamines exert a major modulatory influence on cognition, but there is only equivocal evidence of a direct influence on working memory ability, which would be reflected in a dependence on working memory load. Here we tested the contribution of catecholamines to working memory by administering a wide range of acute oral doses of the dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor methylphenidate (MPH, 0.1-9 mg/kg) to three female macaque monkeys (Macaca mulatta), whose working memory ability was measured from their performance in a visual sequential comparison task. This task allows the systematic manipulation of working memory load, and we therefore tested the specific hypothesis that MPH modulates performance in a manner that depends on both dose and memory load. We found no evidence of a dose- or memory load-dependent effect of MPH on performance. In contrast, significant effects on measures of motivation were observed. These findings suggest that an acute increase in catecholamines does not seem to affect the retention of visual information per se. As such, these results help delimit the effects of MPH on cognition.
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
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
Sanchez, Christopher A
It has been suggested that pain perception and attention are closely linked at both a neural and a behavioural level. If pain and attention are so linked, it is reasonable to speculate that those who vary in working memory capacity (WMC) should be affected by pain differently. This study compares the performance of individuals who differ in WMC as they perform processing and memory span tasks while under mild pain and not. While processing performance under mild pain does not interact with WMC, the ability to store information for later recall does. This suggests that pain operates much like an additional processing burden, and that the ability to overcome this physical sensation is related to differences in WMC.
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.
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.
Padula, Rosimeire Simprini; da Silva Valente, Luciana do Socorro; de Moraes, Mônica Vasconcelos; Chiavegato, Luciana Dias; Cabral, Cristina Maria Nunes
Work capacity is related to physical, environmental and psychosocial factors and is influenced by individual characteristics and occupations. The aim of this study was to evaluated the relationship between work capacity, gender and age. 360 people employed at an institution of higher education of both genders and similar age were asked to participate in this study. The ability to work was analyzed using Work Ability Index (WAI). Descriptive statistical, Pearson correlations and ANOVA test was applied. Of these, 197 workers who participated in the study completed and returned the questionnaire. The results show there weren't any significant differences between work ability in relation to gender and age, but we observed an increase variability of responses for WAI score in older workers. No significant differences in the perception of the ability of work between men and women..
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…
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.
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.
Conti-Ramsden, Gina; Ullman, Michael T.; Lum, Jarrad A. G.
What memory systems underlie grammar in children, and do these differ between typically developing (TD) children and children with specific language impairment (SLI)? Whilst there is substantial evidence linking certain memory deficits to the language problems in children with SLI, few studies have investigated multiple memory systems simultaneously, examining not only possible memory deficits but also memory abilities that may play a compensatory role. This study examined the extent to which procedural, declarative, and working memory abilities predict receptive grammar in 45 primary school aged children with SLI (30 males, 15 females) and 46 TD children (30 males, 16 females), both on average 9;10 years of age. Regression analyses probed measures of all three memory systems simultaneously as potential predictors of receptive grammar. The model was significant, explaining 51.6% of the variance. There was a significant main effect of learning in procedural memory and a significant group × procedural learning interaction. Further investigation of the interaction revealed that procedural learning predicted grammar in TD but not in children with SLI. Indeed, procedural learning was the only predictor of grammar in TD. In contrast, only learning in declarative memory significantly predicted grammar in SLI. Thus, different memory systems are associated with receptive grammar abilities in children with SLI and their TD peers. This study is, to our knowledge, the first to demonstrate a significant group by memory system interaction in predicting grammar in children with SLI and their TD peers. In line with Ullman’s Declarative/Procedural model of language and procedural deficit hypothesis of SLI, variability in understanding sentences of varying grammatical complexity appears to be associated with variability in procedural memory abilities in TD children, but with declarative memory, as an apparent compensatory mechanism, in children with SLI. PMID:26284013
Conti-Ramsden, Gina; Ullman, Michael T; Lum, Jarrad A G
What memory systems underlie grammar in children, and do these differ between typically developing (TD) children and children with specific language impairment (SLI)? Whilst there is substantial evidence linking certain memory deficits to the language problems in children with SLI, few studies have investigated multiple memory systems simultaneously, examining not only possible memory deficits but also memory abilities that may play a compensatory role. This study examined the extent to which procedural, declarative, and working memory abilities predict receptive grammar in 45 primary school aged children with SLI (30 males, 15 females) and 46 TD children (30 males, 16 females), both on average 9;10 years of age. Regression analyses probed measures of all three memory systems simultaneously as potential predictors of receptive grammar. The model was significant, explaining 51.6% of the variance. There was a significant main effect of learning in procedural memory and a significant group × procedural learning interaction. Further investigation of the interaction revealed that procedural learning predicted grammar in TD but not in children with SLI. Indeed, procedural learning was the only predictor of grammar in TD. In contrast, only learning in declarative memory significantly predicted grammar in SLI. Thus, different memory systems are associated with receptive grammar abilities in children with SLI and their TD peers. This study is, to our knowledge, the first to demonstrate a significant group by memory system interaction in predicting grammar in children with SLI and their TD peers. In line with Ullman's Declarative/Procedural model of language and procedural deficit hypothesis of SLI, variability in understanding sentences of varying grammatical complexity appears to be associated with variability in procedural memory abilities in TD children, but with declarative memory, as an apparent compensatory mechanism, in children with SLI.
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…
Johnson, Jeffrey S; Spencer, John P; Luck, Steven J; Schöner, Gregor
Efficient visually guided behavior depends on the ability to form, retain, and compare visual representations for objects that may be separated in space and time. This ability relies on a short-term form of memory known as visual working memory. Although a considerable body of research has begun to shed light on the neurocognitive systems subserving this form of memory, few theories have addressed these processes in an integrated, neurally plausible framework. We describe a layered neural architecture that implements encoding and maintenance, and links these processes to a plausible comparison process. In addition, the model makes the novel prediction that change detection will be enhanced when metrically similar features are remembered. Results from experiments probing memory for color and for orientation were consistent with this novel prediction. These findings place strong constraints on models addressing the nature of visual working memory and its underlying mechanisms.
Attarchi, Mirsaeed; Ghaffari, Mostafa; Abdi, Alireza; Mirzamohammadi, Elham; Seyedmehdi, Seyed Mohammad; Rahimpour, Farzaneh; Fazlalizadeh, Maryam; Mohammadi, Saber
Early leaving of workplace by work forces is one of the fundamental problems worldwide. Maintenance and enhancement of employees work ability are important for raising productivity. This study investigated the relationship between work ability index and physical working conditions and was carried out in 2013 on 641 workers at a manufacturing plant in Tehran. Work ability was assessed by the questionnaire of work ability index and the participants were classified into four work ability groups of poor, moderate, good, and excellent. Physical working conditions were evaluated by the MUSIC-Norrtalje questionnaire and the participants were classified into two groups with proper and poor physical working conditions. The mean score of work ability questionnaire was 42.40; and 2.5% (16 persons), 9.2% (59 persons), 38.2% (245 persons), and 50.1% (321 persons) of the participants were in poor, moderate, good, and excellent work ability groups, respectively. The mean score of physical working conditions questionnaire was 20.06. The results of logistic regression analysis showed that even after adjusting the confounding variables, a significant correlation existed between work ability and physical working conditions (p < 0.05). According to the results of this study, there may be a correlation between physical working conditions such as awkward postures, repetitive movements, load lifting, exposure to whole body vibration and so on with work ability. Therefore it seems that enhancement of the quality of physical working conditions may increase work ability.
Alavash, Mohsen; Doebler, Philipp; Holling, Heinz; Thiel, Christiane M; Gießing, Carsten
Is there one optimal topology of functional brain networks at rest from which our cognitive performance would profit? Previous studies suggest that functional integration of resting state brain networks is an important biomarker for cognitive performance. However, it is still unknown whether higher network integration is an unspecific predictor for good cognitive performance or, alternatively, whether specific network organization during rest predicts only specific cognitive abilities. Here, we investigated the relationship between network integration at rest and cognitive performance using two tasks that measured different aspects of working memory; one task assessed visual-spatial and the other numerical working memory. Network clustering, modularity and efficiency were computed to capture network integration on different levels of network organization, and to statistically compare their correlations with the performance in each working memory test. The results revealed that each working memory aspect profits from a different resting state topology, and the tests showed significantly different correlations with each of the measures of network integration. While higher global network integration and modularity predicted significantly better performance in visual-spatial working memory, both measures showed no significant correlation with numerical working memory performance. In contrast, numerical working memory was superior in subjects with highly clustered brain networks, predominantly in the intraparietal sulcus, a core brain region of the working memory network. Our findings suggest that a specific balance between local and global functional integration of resting state brain networks facilitates special aspects of cognitive performance. In the context of working memory, while visual-spatial performance is facilitated by globally integrated functional resting state brain networks, numerical working memory profits from increased capacities for local 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.
Lange, Rael T; Chelune, Gordon J
Analysis of the discrepancy between memory and intellectual ability has received some support as a means for evaluating memory impairment. Recently, comprehensive base rate tables for General Ability Index (GAI) minus memory discrepancy scores (i.e., GAI-memory) were developed using the WAIS-III/WMS-III standardization sample (Lange, Chelune, & Tulsky, in press). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of GAI-memory discrepancy scores to identify memory impairment in 34 patients with Alzheimer's type dementia (DAT) versus a sample of 34 demographically matched healthy participants. On average, patients with DAT obtained significantly lower scores on all WAIS-III and WMS-III indexes and had larger GAI-memory discrepancy scores. Clinical outcome analyses revealed that GAI-memory scores were useful at identifying memory impairment in patients with DAT versus matched healthy participants. However, GAI-memory discrepancy scores failed to provide unique interpretive information beyond that which is gained from the memory indexes alone. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
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.
Messina, Lucinete de Freitas; Tiedemann, Klaus Bruno; de Andrade, Enio Roberto; Primi, Ricardo
Objective: This research investigated the cognitive abilities and the working memory in children and youngsters with three different types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): (a) mainly with attention-deficit, (b) hyperactive and impulsive, and (c) combined. Method: A computerized test called Infant Cognitive Abilities Test, which…
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
Ingvalson, Erin M; Dhar, Sumitrajit; Wong, Patrick C M; Liu, Hanjun
Working memory capacity has been linked to performance on many higher cognitive tasks, including the ability to perceive speech in noise. Current efforts to train working memory have demonstrated that working memory performance can be improved, suggesting that working memory training may lead to improved speech perception in noise. A further advantage of working memory training to improve speech perception in noise is that working memory training materials are often simple, such as letters or digits, making them easily translatable across languages. The current effort tested the hypothesis that working memory training would be associated with improved speech perception in noise and that materials would easily translate across languages. Native Mandarin Chinese and native English speakers completed ten days of reversed digit span training. Reading span and speech perception in noise both significantly improved following training, whereas untrained controls showed no gains. These data suggest that working memory training may be used to improve listeners' speech perception in noise and that the materials may be quickly adapted to a wide variety of listeners.
Ingvalson, Erin M.; Dhar, Sumitrajit; Wong, Patrick C. M.; Liu, Hanjun
Working memory capacity has been linked to performance on many higher cognitive tasks, including the ability to perceive speech in noise. Current efforts to train working memory have demonstrated that working memory performance can be improved, suggesting that working memory training may lead to improved speech perception in noise. A further advantage of working memory training to improve speech perception in noise is that working memory training materials are often simple, such as letters or digits, making them easily translatable across languages. The current effort tested the hypothesis that working memory training would be associated with improved speech perception in noise and that materials would easily translate across languages. Native Mandarin Chinese and native English speakers completed ten days of reversed digit span training. Reading span and speech perception in noise both significantly improved following training, whereas untrained controls showed no gains. These data suggest that working memory training may be used to improve listeners' speech perception in noise and that the materials may be quickly adapted to a wide variety of listeners. PMID:26093435
Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Redick, Thomas S.; Hulme, Charles
It has been claimed that working memory training programs produce diverse beneficial effects. This article presents a meta-analysis of working memory training studies (with a pretest-posttest design and a control group) that have examined transfer to other measures (nonverbal ability, verbal ability, word decoding, reading comprehension, or arithmetic; 87 publications with 145 experimental comparisons). Immediately following training there were reliable improvements on measures of intermediate transfer (verbal and visuospatial working memory). For measures of far transfer (nonverbal ability, verbal ability, word decoding, reading comprehension, arithmetic) there was no convincing evidence of any reliable improvements when working memory training was compared with a treated control condition. Furthermore, mediation analyses indicated that across studies, the degree of improvement on working memory measures was not related to the magnitude of far-transfer effects found. Finally, analysis of publication bias shows that there is no evidential value from the studies of working memory training using treated controls. The authors conclude that working memory training programs appear to produce short-term, specific training effects that do not generalize to measures of “real-world” cognitive skills. These results seriously question the practical and theoretical importance of current computerized working memory programs as methods of training working memory skills. PMID:27474138
Lee, Sue-Hyun; Kravitz, Dwight J.; Baker, Chris I.
To determine the specific contribution of brain regions to working memory, human participants performed two distinct tasks on the same visually-presented objects. During the maintenance of visual properties object identity could be decoded from extrastriate, but not prefrontal, cortex, whereas the opposite held for non-visual properties. Thus, the ability to maintain information during working memory is a general and flexible cortical property with the role of individual regions being goal-dependent. PMID:23817547
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.
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
Pfeiffer, Steven I.
This article discusses three lessons that stand out as particularly poignant in the author's career working with high-ability students. The author recounts personal and professional experiences that influenced his thinking. The three lessons are that identifying high-ability students is not an easy business, the development of talent requires more…
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.
Archibald, Lisa M D; Levee, Tyler; Olino, Thomas
Attention allocation, updating working memory, and language processing are interdependent cognitive tasks related to the focused direction of limited resources, refreshing and substituting information in the current focus of attention, and receiving/sending verbal communication, respectively. The current study systematically examined the relationship among executive attention, working memory executive skills, and language abilities while adjusting for individual differences in short-term memory. School-age children completed a selective attention task requiring them to recall whether a presented shape was in the same place as a previous target shape shown in an array imposing a low or high working memory load. Results revealed a selective attention cost when working above but not within memory span capacity. Measures of general working memory were positively related to overall task performance, whereas language abilities were related to response time. In particular, higher language skills were associated with faster responses under low load conditions. These findings suggest that attentional control and storage demands have an additive impact on working memory resources but provide only limited evidence for a domain-general mechanism in language learning.
Pudas, Sara; Persson, Jonas; Nilsson, Lars-Göran; Nyberg, Lars
Cross-sectional neuroimaging studies suggest that hippocampal and prefrontal cortex functions underlie individual differences in memory ability in older individuals, but it is unclear how individual differences in cognitive ability in youth contribute to cognitive and neuroimaging measures in older age. Here, we investigated the relative influences of midlife memory ability and age-related memory change on memory-related BOLD-signal variability at one time point, using a sample from a longitudinal population-based aging study (N = 203, aged 55-80 years). Hierarchical regression analyses showed that midlife memory ability, assessed 15-20 years earlier, explained at least as much variance as memory change in clusters in the left inferior prefrontal cortex and the bilateral hippocampus, during memory encoding. Furthermore, memory change estimates demonstrated higher sensitivity than current memory levels in identifying distinct frontal regions where activity was selectively related to age-related memory change, as opposed to midlife memory. These findings highlight challenges in interpreting individual differences in neurocognitive measures as age-related changes in the absence of longitudinal data and also demonstrate the improved sensitivity of longitudinal measures.
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.
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…
Bañuelos, Cristina; Beas, B Sofia; McQuail, Joseph A; Gilbert, Ryan J; Frazier, Charles J; Setlow, Barry; Bizon, Jennifer L
Working memory functions supported by the prefrontal cortex decline in normal aging. Disruption of corticolimbic GABAergic inhibitory circuits can impair working memory in young subjects; however, relatively little is known regarding how aging impacts prefrontal cortical GABAergic signaling and whether such changes contribute to cognitive deficits. The current study used a rat model to evaluate the effects of aging on expression of prefrontal GABAergic synaptic proteins in relation to working memory decline, and to test whether pharmacological manipulations of prefrontal GABAergic signaling can improve working memory abilities in aged subjects. Results indicate that in aged medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), expression of the vesicular GABA transporter VGAT was unchanged; however, there was a significant increase in expression of the GABA synthesizing enzyme GAD67, and a significant decrease in the primary neuronal GABA transporter GAT-1 and in both subunits of the GABA(B) receptor (GABA(B)R). Expression of VGAT, GAD67, and GAT-1 was not associated with working memory ability. In contrast, among aged rats, GABA(B)R expression was significantly and negatively associated with working memory performance, such that lower GABA(B)R expression predicted better working memory. Subsequent experiments showed that systemic administration of a GABA(B)R antagonist, CGP55845, dose-dependently enhanced working memory in aged rats. This enhancing effect of systemic CGP55845 was reproduced by direct intra-mPFC administration. Together, these data suggest that age-related dysregulation of GABAergic signaling in prefrontal cortex may play a causal role in impaired working memory and that targeting GABA(B)Rs may provide therapeutic benefit for age-related impairments in executive functions.
Bañuelos, Cristina; Beas, B. Sofia; McQuail, Joseph A.; Gilbert, Ryan J.; Frazier, Charles J.; Setlow, Barry
Working memory functions supported by the prefrontal cortex decline in normal aging. Disruption of corticolimbic GABAergic inhibitory circuits can impair working memory in young subjects; however, relatively little is known regarding how aging impacts prefrontal cortical GABAergic signaling and whether such changes contribute to cognitive deficits. The current study used a rat model to evaluate the effects of aging on expression of prefrontal GABAergic synaptic proteins in relation to working memory decline, and to test whether pharmacological manipulations of prefrontal GABAergic signaling can improve working memory abilities in aged subjects. Results indicate that in aged medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), expression of the vesicular GABA transporter VGAT was unchanged; however, there was a significant increase in expression of the GABA synthesizing enzyme GAD67, and a significant decrease in the primary neuronal GABA transporter GAT-1 and in both subunits of the GABA(B) receptor (GABA(B)R). Expression of VGAT, GAD67, and GAT-1 was not associated with working memory ability. In contrast, among aged rats, GABA(B)R expression was significantly and negatively associated with working memory performance, such that lower GABA(B)R expression predicted better working memory. Subsequent experiments showed that systemic administration of a GABA(B)R antagonist, CGP55845, dose-dependently enhanced working memory in aged rats. This enhancing effect of systemic CGP55845 was reproduced by direct intra-mPFC administration. Together, these data suggest that age-related dysregulation of GABAergic signaling in prefrontal cortex may play a causal role in impaired working memory and that targeting GABA(B)Rs may provide therapeutic benefit for age-related impairments in executive functions. PMID:24599447
Sloan, Anthony R; McGovern, Robin; Buffalari, Deanne M
Recent studies have suggested that college students are heavily engaged in non-medical use of stimulant drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This age group is also at high risk for alcohol use. Despite their potential co-abuse, little work has examined how these drugs interact to affect cognitive abilities. In fact, these drugs have opposing effects on working memory, which brings into question how they may interact to affect this particular behavior. The purpose of this research was to examine the concomitant effects of methylphenidate (MPH) and ethanol (EtOH) on working and reference memory. Rats were first trained on the radial arm maze task to establish a baseline performance rate measured as average number of reference and working memory errors. Performance was then assessed after injections of saline, MPH alone, EtOH alone, and MPH+EtOH combined. While both doses of MPH caused nonsignificant improvements in working memory, when combined with EtOH, there was an overall impairment in working and reference memory compared to other conditions. EtOH alone also decreased memory. These data indicate increased impairment of memory function with combined MPH and EtOH use. By understanding how the combination of methylphenidate and alcohol affects memory, we can better assess the risks of taking both substances simultaneously.
Augusti, Else-Marie; Torheim, Hanna Karoline; Melinder, Annika
Studies on adults have revealed a disadvantageous effect of negative emotional stimuli on executive functions (EF), and it is suggested that this effect is amplified in children. The present study's aim was to assess how emotional facial expressions affected working memory in 9- to 12-year-olds, using a working memory task with emotional facial expressions as stimuli. Additionally, we explored how degree of internalizing and externalizing symptoms in typically developing children was related to performance on the same task. Before employing the working memory task with emotional facial expressions as stimuli, an independent sample of 9- to 12-year-olds was asked to recognize the facial expressions intended to serve as stimuli for the working memory task and to rate the facial expressions on the degree to which the emotion was expressed and for arousal to obtain a baseline for how children during this age recognize and react to facial expressions. The first study revealed that children rated the facial expressions with similar intensity and arousal across age. When employing the working memory task with facial expressions, results revealed that negatively valenced expressions impaired working memory more than neutral and positively valenced expressions. The ability to successfully complete the working memory task increased between 9 to 12 years of age. Children's total problems were associated with poorer performance on the working memory task with facial expressions. Results on the effect of emotion on working memory are discussed in light of recent models and empirical findings on how emotional information might interact and interfere with cognitive processes such as working memory.
Souza, Pamela; Arehart, Kathryn; Neher, Tobias
Working memory-the ability to process and store information-has been identified as an important aspect of speech perception in difficult listening environments. Working memory can be envisioned as a limited-capacity system which is engaged when an input signal cannot be readily matched to a stored representation or template. This "mismatch" is expected to occur more frequently when the signal is degraded. Because working memory capacity varies among individuals, those with smaller capacity are expected to demonstrate poorer speech understanding when speech is degraded, such as in background noise. However, it is less clear whether (and how) working memory should influence practical decisions, such as hearing treatment. Here, we consider the relationship between working memory capacity and response to specific hearing aid processing strategies. Three types of signal processing are considered, each of which will alter the acoustic signal: fast-acting wide-dynamic range compression, which smooths the amplitude envelope of the input signal; digital noise reduction, which may inadvertently remove speech signal components as it suppresses noise; and frequency compression, which alters the relationship between spectral peaks. For fast-acting wide-dynamic range compression, a growing body of data suggests that individuals with smaller working memory capacity may be more susceptible to such signal alterations, and may receive greater amplification benefit with "low alteration" processing. While the evidence for a relationship between wide-dynamic range compression and working memory appears robust, the effects of working memory on perceptual response to other forms of hearing aid signal processing are less clear cut. We conclude our review with a discussion of the opportunities (and challenges) in translating information on individual working memory into clinical treatment, including clinically feasible measures of working memory.
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).…
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
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.
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.
Theory of Mind and Emotion Recognition Skills in Children with Specific Language Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development: Group Differences and Connection to Knowledge of Grammatical Morphology, Word-Finding Abilities and Verbal Working Memory
Loukusa, Soile; Mäkinen, Leena; Kuusikko-Gauffin, Sanna; Ebeling, Hanna; Moilanen, Irma
Background: Social perception skills, such as understanding the mind and emotions of others, affect children's communication abilities in real-life situations. In addition to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is increasing knowledge that children with specific language impairment (SLI) also demonstrate difficulties in their social…
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.
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
Hopko, D R; Ashcraft, M H; Gute, J; Ruggiero, K J; Lewis, C
A current theory of anxiety effects in cognition claims that anxiety disrupts normal processing within the working memory system. We examined this theory in the context of a reading task, for participants who were high or low in assessed mathematics anxiety. The task was designed to measure the ability to inhibit attention to distracting information and the effects of this ability on explicit memory performance. The results suggested that math-anxious individuals have a deficient inhibition mechanism whereby working memory resources are consumed by task-irrelevant distracters. A consequence of this deficiency was that explicit memory performance was poorer for high-anxious individuals. Based on these results, the recommendation is made that Eysenck and Calvo's (1992) processing efficiency theory be integrated with Connelly, Hasher, and Zack's (1991) inhibition theory to portray more comprehensively the relation between anxiety and performance.
Working memory capacity increases throughout childhood and adolescence, which is important for the development of a wide range of cognitive abilities, including complex reasoning. The spatial-span task, in which subjects retain information about the order and position of a number of objects, is a sensitive task to measure development of spatial working memory. This review considers results from previous neuroimaging studies investigating the neural correlates of this development. Older children and adolescents, with higher capacity, have been found to have higher brain activity in the intraparietal cortex and in the posterior part of the superior frontal sulcus, during the performance of working memory tasks. The structural maturation of white matter has been investigated by diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI). This has revealed several regions in the frontal lobes in which white matter maturation is correlated with the development of working memory. Among these is a superior fronto-parietal white matter region, located close to the grey matter regions that are implicated in the development of working memory. Furthermore, the degree of white matter maturation is positively correlated with the degree of cortical activation in the frontal and parietal regions. This suggests that during childhood and adolescence, there is development of networks related to specific cognitive functions, such as visuo-spatial working memory. These networks not only consist of cortical areas but also the white matter tracts connecting them. For visuo-spatial working memory, this network could consist of the superior frontal and intraparietal cortex.
Owens, Matthew; Stevenson, Jim; Norgate, Roger; Hadwin, Julie A
Working memory skills are positively associated with academic performance. In contrast, high levels of trait anxiety are linked with educational underachievement. Based on Eysenck and Calvo's (1992) processing efficiency theory (PET), the present study investigated whether associations between anxiety and educational achievement were mediated via poor working memory performance. Fifty children aged 11-12 years completed verbal (backwards digit span; tapping the phonological store/central executive) and spatial (Corsi blocks; tapping the visuospatial sketchpad/central executive) working memory tasks. Trait anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Academic performance was assessed using school administered tests of reasoning (Cognitive Abilities Test) and attainment (Standard Assessment Tests). The results showed that the association between trait anxiety and academic performance was significantly mediated by verbal working memory for three of the six academic performance measures (math, quantitative and non-verbal reasoning). Spatial working memory did not significantly mediate the relationship between trait anxiety and academic performance. On average verbal working memory accounted for 51% of the association between trait anxiety and academic performance, while spatial working memory only accounted for 9%. The findings indicate that PET is a useful framework to assess the impact of children's anxiety on educational achievement.
Lim, Sukbin; Goldman, Mark S
A hallmark of working memory is the ability to maintain graded representations of both the spatial location and amplitude of a memorized stimulus. Previous work has identified a neural correlate of spatial working memory in the persistent maintenance of spatially specific patterns of neural activity. How such activity is maintained by neocortical circuits remains unknown. Traditional models of working memory maintain analog representations of either the spatial location or the amplitude of a stimulus, but not both. Furthermore, although most previous models require local excitation and lateral inhibition to maintain spatially localized persistent activity stably, the substrate for lateral inhibitory feedback pathways is unclear. Here, we suggest an alternative model for spatial working memory that is capable of maintaining analog representations of both the spatial location and amplitude of a stimulus, and that does not rely on long-range feedback inhibition. The model consists of a functionally columnar network of recurrently connected excitatory and inhibitory neural populations. When excitation and inhibition are balanced in strength but offset in time, drifts in activity trigger spatially specific negative feedback that corrects memory decay. The resulting networks can temporally integrate inputs at any spatial location, are robust against many commonly considered perturbations in network parameters, and, when implemented in a spiking model, generate irregular neural firing characteristic of that observed experimentally during persistent activity. This work suggests balanced excitatory-inhibitory memory circuits implementing corrective negative feedback as a substrate for spatial working memory.
A hallmark of working memory is the ability to maintain graded representations of both the spatial location and amplitude of a memorized stimulus. Previous work has identified a neural correlate of spatial working memory in the persistent maintenance of spatially specific patterns of neural activity. How such activity is maintained by neocortical circuits remains unknown. Traditional models of working memory maintain analog representations of either the spatial location or the amplitude of a stimulus, but not both. Furthermore, although most previous models require local excitation and lateral inhibition to maintain spatially localized persistent activity stably, the substrate for lateral inhibitory feedback pathways is unclear. Here, we suggest an alternative model for spatial working memory that is capable of maintaining analog representations of both the spatial location and amplitude of a stimulus, and that does not rely on long-range feedback inhibition. The model consists of a functionally columnar network of recurrently connected excitatory and inhibitory neural populations. When excitation and inhibition are balanced in strength but offset in time, drifts in activity trigger spatially specific negative feedback that corrects memory decay. The resulting networks can temporally integrate inputs at any spatial location, are robust against many commonly considered perturbations in network parameters, and, when implemented in a spiking model, generate irregular neural firing characteristic of that observed experimentally during persistent activity. This work suggests balanced excitatory–inhibitory memory circuits implementing corrective negative feedback as a substrate for spatial working memory. PMID:24828633
Chevalier, Nicolas; James, Tiffany D.; Wiebe, Sandra A.; Nelson, Jennifer Mize; Espy, Kimberly Andrews
The present study addressed whether developmental improvement in working memory span task performance relies upon a growing ability to proactively plan response sequences during childhood. Two hundred thirteen children completed a working memory span task in which they used a touchscreen to reproduce orally presented sequences of animal names.…
Rapport, Mark D.; Alderson, R. Matt; Kofler, Michael J.; Sarver, Dustin E.; Bolden, Jennifer; Sims, Valerie
The current study investigated contradictory findings from recent experimental and meta-analytic studies concerning working memory deficits in ADHD. Working memory refers to the cognitive ability to temporarily store and mentally manipulate limited amounts of information for use in guiding behavior. Phonological (verbal) and visuospatial…
Stevenson, Claire E.; Bergwerff, Catharina E.; Heiser, Willem J.; Resing, Wilma C. M.
Working memory and inductive reasoning ability each appear related to children's achievement in math and reading. Dynamic measures of reasoning, based on an assessment procedure including feedback, may provide additional predictive value. The aim of this study was to investigate whether working memory and dynamic measures of analogical…
Barnes, Jessica J.; Nobre, Anna Christina; Woolrich, Mark W.; Baker, Kate
Working memory is a capacity upon which many everyday tasks depend and which constrains a child's educational progress. We show that a child's working memory can be significantly enhanced by intensive computer-based training, relative to a placebo control intervention, in terms of both standardized assessments of working memory and performance on a working memory task performed in a magnetoencephalography scanner. Neurophysiologically, we identified significantly increased cross-frequency phase amplitude coupling in children who completed training. Following training, the coupling between the upper alpha rhythm (at 16 Hz), recorded in superior frontal and parietal cortex, became significantly coupled with high gamma activity (at ∼90 Hz) in inferior temporal cortex. This altered neural network activity associated with cognitive skill enhancement is consistent with a framework in which slower cortical rhythms enable the dynamic regulation of higher-frequency oscillatory activity related to task-related cognitive processes. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Whether we can enhance cognitive abilities through intensive training is one of the most controversial topics of cognitive psychology in recent years. This is particularly controversial in childhood, where aspects of cognition, such as working memory, are closely related to school success and are implicated in numerous developmental disorders. We provide the first neurophysiological account of how working memory training may enhance ability in childhood, using a brain recording technique called magnetoencephalography. We borrowed an analysis approach previously used with intracranial recordings in adults, or more typically in other animal models, called “phase amplitude coupling.” PMID:27559180
Euler, Matthew J; Wiltshire, Travis J; Niermeyer, Madison A; Butner, Jonathan E
Electrophysiological studies have strongly implicated theta-band activity in human working memory processes. Concurrently, work on spontaneous, non-task-related oscillations has revealed the presence of long-range temporal correlations (LRTCs) within sub-bands of the ongoing EEG, and has begun to demonstrate their functional significance. However, few studies have yet assessed the relation of LRTCs (also called scaling relations) to individual differences in cognitive abilities. The present study addressed the intersection of these two literatures by investigating the relation of narrow-band EEG scaling relations to individual differences in working memory ability, with a particular focus on the theta band. Fifty-four healthy adults completed standardized assessments of working memory and separate recordings of their spontaneous, non-task-related EEG. Scaling relations were quantified in each of the five classical EEG frequency bands via the estimation of the Hurst exponent obtained from detrended fluctuation analysis. A multilevel modeling framework was used to characterize the relation of working memory performance to scaling relations as a function of general scalp location in Cartesian space. Overall, results indicated an inverse relationship between both delta and theta scaling relations and working memory ability, which was most prominent at posterior sensors, and was independent of either spatial or individual variability in band-specific power. These findings add to the growing literature demonstrating the relevance of neural LRTCs for understanding brain functioning, and support a construct- and state-dependent view of their functional implications.
Amichetti, Nicole M.; Stanley, Raymond S.; White, Alison G.
In two experiments, we used an interruption-and-recall (IAR) task to explore listeners’ ability to monitor the capacity of working memory as new information arrived in real time. In this task, listeners heard recorded word lists with instructions to interrupt the input at the maximum point that would still allow for perfect recall. Experiment 1 demonstrated that the most commonly selected segment size closely matched participants’ memory span, as measured in a baseline span test. Experiment 2 showed that reducing the sound level of presented word lists to a suprathreshold but effortful listening level disrupted the accuracy of matching selected segment sizes with participants’ memory spans. The results are discussed in terms of whether online capacity monitoring may be subsumed under other, already enumerated working memory executive functions (inhibition, set shifting, and memory updating). PMID:23400826
Reed, Deborah B; Rayens, Mary Kay; Conley, Christina K; Westneat, Susan; Adkins, Sarah M
Thirty percent of America's 2.2 million farms are operated by individuals older than 65 years. This study examined how older farmers define health and determined whether demographic characteristics, farm work, and physical and mental health status predict health definition. Data were collected via telephone and mailed surveys during the baseline wave of data collection in a longitudinal study of family farmers residing in two southern states (n=1,288). Nearly 42% defined health as the "ability to work" compared to a physical health-related definition. Predictors of defining health as the ability to work included being White, performing more farm tasks in the past week, taking prescription medications daily, and having minimal health-related limitations to farm work. Health behaviors are centered on the individual's perception of health. Understanding the defining attributes of health can support better approaches to health care and health promotion, particularly among rural subcultures such as farmers, whose identity is rooted in their work.
Hall, Michael D; Blasko, Dawn G
Researchers have shown that working memory is related to a variety of high-level cognitive processes. However, the results of recent research have suggested that may be because of its role in attentional control. In the present experiment, the authors investigated that hypothesis by using an attentional interference task with musical stimuli. Listeners were asked to monitor one ear for either a clarinet or violin tone and to ignore any information in the other ear. On some of the trials, they heard only one tone and on other trials, either the same instrument in both ears or different instruments. Individual differences were measured in working memory and musical experience. The results showed more attentional interference in the different-instrument condition for participants with lower working memory scores, which suggested that working memory involves the ability to control attention to inhibit irrelevant information.
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.
Grubaugh, Jordan; Rhea, Christopher K
Gait performance exhibits patterns within the stride-to-stride variability that can be indexed using detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). Previous work employing DFA has shown that gait patterns can be influenced by constraints, such as natural aging or disease, and they are informative regarding a person's functional ability. Many activities of daily living require concurrent performance in the cognitive and gait domains; specifically working memory is commonly engaged while walking, which is considered dual-tasking. It is unknown if taxing working memory while walking influences gait performance as assessed by DFA. This study used a dual-tasking paradigm to determine if performance decrements are observed in gait or working memory when performed concurrently. Healthy young participants (N = 16) performed a working memory task (automated operation span task) and a gait task (walking at a self-selected speed on a treadmill) in single- and dual-task conditions. A second dual-task condition (reading while walking) was included to control for visual attention, but also introduced a task that taxed working memory over the long term. All trials involving gait lasted at least 10 min. Performance in the working memory task was indexed using five dependent variables (absolute score, partial score, speed error, accuracy error, and math error), while gait performance was indexed by quantifying the mean, standard deviation, and DFA α of the stride interval time series. Two multivariate analyses of variance (one for gait and one for working memory) were used to examine performance in the single- and dual-task conditions. No differences were observed in any of the gait or working memory dependent variables as a function of task condition. The results suggest the locomotor system is adaptive enough to complete a working memory task without compromising gait performance when walking at a self-selected pace.
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.
Vänni, Kimmo; Virtanen, Pekka; Luukkaala, Tiina; Nygård, Clas-Håkan
This paper presents an approach to assessing presenteeism (on-the-job productivity loss) that is related to perceived work ability. The aim of this explorative research was to find out if perceived work ability could be a robust indicator, interchangeable with presenteeism, in Finnish food industry organizations. The developed approach was based on existing presenteeism research as well as on register and survey data. The approach demonstrates that one step downward on the 10-point perceived work ability scale theoretically reduces employees' on-the-job productivity by ˜5 percentage points. At the company level, on-the-job productivity loss was 3.7% (mdn 0), while sickness absence was 5.0% (mdn 2.2). The probability of productivity loss among factory workers was fourfold compared to women in office work. The developed approach makes it possible to assess perceived productivity loss at the level of an individual and an organization. Perceived work ability may, in fact, be a robust indicator for assessing perceived productivity loss.
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.
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
Anbazhagan, Suguna; Ramesh, Naveen; Surekha, A; Fathima, Farah N.; Melina; Anjali
Background: Work capacity is the ability to perform real physical work, and work ability is a result of interaction of worker to his or her work that is how good a worker is at present, in near future, and how able is he or she to do his or her work with respect to work demands and health and mental resources. Objective: To assess the work capacity and work ability and to study the factors associated with work capacity and work ability of workers at a tea plantation in South India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a tea plantation in Annamalai, South India, from March to May 2015. Data were collected using a structured interview schedule comprising of three parts as follows: sociodemographic data, work ability questionnaire, and work capacity assessment. Results: Of the 199 subjects participated in the study, majority [90 (45.3%)] were in the age group of 46–55 years, and 128 (64.3%) were females. Of the 199 workers, 12.6% had poor aerobic capacity (by Harvard Step test), 88.4% had an endurance of more than 1 h, 70.9% had better work productivity and energetic efficiency, and the voluntary activity workers spent most time on household chores. Of the 199 workers assessed, only 9.6% had good work ability. There is negative correlation between work ability and body mass index (BMI). Conclusion: Our study found 12.6% workers with poor aerobic capacity and 9.6% of workers with good work ability. Periodic health examinations and other screening procedures should be made as routine in workplace to improve work ability and capacity. PMID:28194080
Rotzer, S; Loenneker, T; Kucian, K; Martin, E; Klaver, P; von Aster, M
The underlying neural mechanisms of developmental dyscalculia (DD) are still far from being clearly understood. Even the behavioral processes that generate or influence this heterogeneous disorder are a matter of controversy. To date, the few studies examining functional brain activation in children with DD mainly focus on number and counting related tasks, whereas studies on more general cognitive domains that are involved in arithmetical development, such as working memory are virtually absent. There are several studies showing a close relationship between DD and spatial working memory [Camos, V. (2008). Low working memory capacity impedes both efficiency and learning of number transcoding in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 99(1), 37-57; McLean, J. F., & Hitch, G. J. (1999). Working memory impairments in children with specific arithmetic learning difficulties. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 74(3), 240-260; Rosselli, M., Matute, E., Pinto, N., & Ardila, A. (2006). Memory abilities in children with subtypes of dyscalculia. Developmental Neuropsychology, 30(3), 801-818; Siegel, L. S., & Ryan, E. B. (1989). The development of working memory in normally achieving and subtypes of learning disabled children. Child Development, 60(4), 973-980]. The relationship between these two mechanisms is still matter of debate, but this study follows the assumption that poor spatial working memory capacity may hinder the acquisition of spatial number representations in children with DD [Geary, D. C. (1993). Mathematical disabilities: Cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic components. Psychological Bulletin, 114(2), 345-362; von Aster, M., & Shalev, R. S. (2007). Number development and developmental dyscalculia. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(11), 868-873]. Using functional MRI the current study compares brain activity associated with spatial working memory processes in 8-10-year-old children with DD and normally achieving controls
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…
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.
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.
Furley, Philip; Memmert, Daniel
The goal of the study was to investigate the relationship between domain-general working memory capacity and domain-specific creativity amongst experienced soccer players. We administered the automated operation span task in combination with a domain-specific soccer creativity task to a group of 61 experienced soccer players to address the question whether an athlete’s domain-specific creativity is restricted by their domain-general cognitive abilities (i.e., working memory capacity). Given that previous studies have either found a positive correlation, a negative correlation, or no correlation between working memory capacity and creativity, we analyzed the data in an exploratory manner by following recent recommendations to report effect-size estimations and their precision in form of 95% confidence intervals. The pattern of results provided evidence that domain-general working memory capacity is not associated with creativity in a soccer-specific creativity task. This pattern of results suggests that future research and theorizing on the role of working memory in everyday creative performance needs to distinguish between different types of creative performance while also taking the role of domain-specific experience into account. PMID:25713552
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.
Wang, Shinmin; Allen, Richard J; Lee, Jun Ren; Hsieh, Chia-En
The creation of temporary bound representation of information from different sources is one of the key abilities attributed to the episodic buffer component of working memory. Whereas the role of working memory in word learning has received substantial attention, very little is known about the link between the development of word recognition skills and the ability to bind information in the episodic buffer of working memory and how it may develop with age. This study examined the performance of Grade 2 children (8 years old), Grade 3 children (9 years old), and young adults on a task designed to measure their ability to bind visual and auditory-verbal information in working memory. Children's performance on this task significantly correlated with their word recognition skills even when chronological age, memory for individual elements, and other possible reading-related factors were taken into account. In addition, clear developmental trajectories were observed, with improvements in the ability to hold temporary bound information in working memory between Grades 2 and 3, and between the child and adult groups, that were independent from memory for the individual elements. These findings suggest that the capacity to temporarily bind novel auditory-verbal information to visual form in working memory is linked to the development of word recognition in children and improves with age.
Camerino, Donatella; Conway, Paul Maurice; Sartori, Samantha; Campanini, Paolo; Estryn-Béhar, Madeleine; van der Heijden, Beatrice Isabella Johanna Maria; Costa, Giovanni
Satisfactory work ability is sustained and promoted by good physical and mental health and by favorable working conditions. This study examined whether favorable and rewarding work-related factors increased the work ability among European nurses. The study sample was drawn from the Nurses' Early Exit Study and consisted of 7,516 nursing staff from seven European countries working in state-owned and private hospitals. In all, 10.8% were day, 4.2% were permanent night, 20.9% were shift without night shift, and 64.1% were shift workers with night shifts. Participants were administered a composite questionnaire at baseline (Time 0) and 1 yr later (Time 1). The Work Ability Index (WAI) at Time 1 was used as the outcome measure, while work schedule, sleep, rewards (esteem and career), satisfaction with pay, work involvement and motivation, and satisfaction with working hours at Time 0 were included as potential determinants of work ability. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted after adjusting for a number of confounders (i.e., country, age, sex, type of employment, family status, and other job opportunities in the same area). Work schedule was not related to Time 1 changes in WAI. Higher sleep quality and quantity and more favorable psychosocial factors significantly increased work ability levels. Higher sleep quality and quantity did not mediate the effect of work schedule on work ability. No relevant interaction effects on work ability were observed between work schedule and the other factors considered at Time 0. As a whole, sleep and satisfaction with working time were gradually reduced from day work to permanent night work. However, scores on work involvement, motivation, and satisfaction with pay and rewards were the highest in permanent night workers and the lowest in rotating shift workers that included night shifts.
Näsi, Matti; Koivusilta, Leena
The growing role of Internet in all aspects of everyday life has led to speculations over the impacts beyond the traditional questions of access or sociability. This in mind, the main focus in this article was to examine how Finns, for majority of whom Internet use has become commonplace activity, perceive the impacts of Internet use since first adopting the technology. In this study, we examine how Internet user history and perceived computer skills, along with different sociodemographic factors, appear to reflect on the perceived impacts of Internet adoption in terms of memory and ability to concentrate. According to the results, almost one in five of the respondents reported changes concerning their memory or ability to concentrate, with skilled computer users and nonworkers, in particular, perceiving the change. Factors such as age-related differences and exposure to potential information overload at work were identified to explain the perceived change. Our data were collected in a survey-gathering information on the everyday life and well-being of Finns. The sample consisted of 2000 Finnish speakers aged 15 to 64 years. The response rate was 46 percent (N=908).
Mabbott, Donald J; Bisanz, Jeffrey
Knowledge and skill in multiplication were investigated for late elementary-grade students with mathematics learning disabilities (MLD), typically achieving age-matched peers, low-achieving age-matched peers, and ability-matched peers by examining multiple measures of computational skill, working memory, and conceptual knowledge. Poor multiplication fact mastery and calculation fluency and general working memory discriminated children with MLD from typically achieving age-matched peers. Furthermore, children with MLD were slower in executing backup procedures than typically achieving age-matched peers. The performance of children with MLD on multiple measures of multiplication skill and knowledge was most similar to that of ability-matched younger children. MLD may be due to difficulties in computational skills and working memory. Implications for the diagnosis and remediation of MLD are discussed.
This literature review explored the experiences of workers with on-the-job injuries, and the effect of psychosocial factors on their abilities to return to work. Four common themes were discovered frustration, depression, discrimination, and obstacles in understanding how the workers compensation system works and in obtaining care. The literature review suggested that interventions such as rehabilitation programs and psychosocial interventions help injured workers return to work. Nursing implications, including early, comprehensive, and fair interventions, are discussed. Intervening in this manner contributes to holistic nursing care of injured workers.
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.
McGonagle, Alyssa K; Fisher, Gwenith G; Barnes-Farrell, Janet L; Grosch, James W
Perceived work ability refers to a worker's assessment of his or her ability to continue working in his or her job, given characteristics of the job along with his or her resources. Perceived work ability is a critical variable to study in the United States, given an aging workforce, trends to delay retirement, and U.S. policy considerations to delay the age at which full Social Security retirement benefits may be obtained. Based on the job demands-resources model, cognitive appraisal theory of stress, and push/pull factors related to retirement, we proposed and tested a conceptual model of antecedents and outcomes of perceived work ability using 3 independent samples of U.S. working adults. Data regarding workers' job characteristics were from self-report and Occupational Information Network measures. Results from relative importance analysis indicated that health and sense of control were consistently and most strongly related to work ability perceptions relative to other job demands and job and personal resources when perceived work ability was measured concurrently or 2 weeks later in samples with varying occupations. Job demands (along with health and sense of control) were most strongly related to work ability perceptions when perceived work ability was measured in a manufacturing worker sample 1.6 years later. Perceived work ability also predicted lagged labor force outcomes (absence, retirement, and disability leave) while controlling for other known predictors of each. Consistent indirect effects were observed from health status and sense of control to all 3 of these outcomes via perceived work ability.
McGonagle, Alyssa K.; Fisher, Gwenith G.; Barnes-Farrell, Janet L.; Grosch, James W.
Perceived work ability refers to a worker's assessment of his or her ability to continue working in his or her job, given characteristics of the job along with his or her personal resources. Perceived work ability is a critical variable to study in the U.S., given an aging workforce, trends to delay retirement, and U.S. policy considerations to delay the age at which full Social Security retirement benefits may be obtained. Based on the Job Demands-Resources Model, cognitive appraisal theory of stress and push/pull factors related to retirement, we proposed and tested a conceptual model of antecedents and outcomes of perceived work ability using three independent samples of U.S. working adults. Data regarding workers’ job characteristics were from self-report and O*NET measures. Results from relative importance analysis indicated that health and sense of control were consistently and most strongly related to work ability perceptions relative to other job demands and job resources when perceived work ability was measured concurrently or two weeks later in samples with varying occupations. Job demands (along with health and sense of control) were most strongly related to work ability perceptions when perceived work ability was measured in a manufacturing worker sample 1.6 years later. Perceived work ability also predicted lagged labor force outcomes (absence, retirement, and disability leave) while controlling for other known predictors of each. Consistent indirect effects were observed from health status and sense of control to all three of these outcomes via perceived work ability. PMID:25314364
McAuley, Tara; White, Desirée A
This study addressed three related aims: (a) to replicate and extend previous work regarding the nonunitary nature of processing speed, response inhibition, and working memory during development; (b) to quantify the rate at which processing speed, response inhibition, and working memory develop and the extent to which the development of these latter abilities reflect general changes in processing speed; and (c) to evaluate whether commonly used tasks of processing speed, response inhibition, and working memory are valid and reliable when used with a developmentally diverse group. To address these aims, a latent variables approach was used to analyze data from 147 participants 6-24years of age. Results showed that processing speed, response inhibition, and working memory were separable abilities and that the extent of this separability was stable across the age range of participants. All three constructs improved as a function of age; however, only the effect of age on working memory remained significant after processing speed was controlled. The psychometric properties of tasks used to assess the constructs were age invariant, thereby validating their use in studies of executive development.
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
Attout, Lucie; Majerus, Steve
Although a number of studies suggests a link between working memory (WM) storage capacity of short-term memory and calculation abilities, the nature of verbal WM deficits in children with developmental dyscalculia (DD) remains poorly understood. We explored verbal WM capacity in DD by focusing on the distinction between memory for item information (the items to be retained) and memory for order information (the order of the items within a list). We hypothesized that WM for order could be specifically related to impaired numerical abilities given that recent studies suggest close interactions between the representation of order information in WM and ordinal numerical processing. We investigated item and order WM abilities as well as basic numerical processing abilities in 16 children with DD (age: 8-11 years) and 16 typically developing children matched on age, IQ, and reading abilities. The DD group performed significantly poorer than controls in the order WM condition but not in the item WM condition. In addition, the DD group performed significantly slower than the control group on a numerical order judgment task. The present results show significantly reduced serial order WM abilities in DD coupled with less efficient numerical ordinal processing abilities, reflecting more general difficulties in explicit processing of ordinal information.
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.
Benassi-Werke, Mariana E; Queiroz, Marcelo; Araújo, Rúben S; Bueno, Orlando F A; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela M
Studies investigating factors that influence tone recognition generally use recognition tests, whereas the majority of the studies on verbal material use self-generated responses in the form of serial recall tests. In the present study we intended to investigate whether tonal and verbal materials share the same cognitive mechanisms, by presenting an experimental instrument that evaluates short-term and working memories for tones, using self-generated sung responses that may be compared to verbal tests. This paradigm was designed according to the same structure of the forward and backward digit span tests, but using digits, pseudowords, and tones as stimuli. The profile of amateur singers and professional singers in these tests was compared in forward and backward digit, pseudoword, tone, and contour spans. In addition, an absolute pitch experimental group was included, in order to observe the possible use of verbal labels in tone memorization tasks. In general, we observed that musical schooling has a slight positive influence on the recall of tones, as opposed to verbal material, which is not influenced by musical schooling. Furthermore, the ability to reproduce melodic contours (up and down patterns) is generally higher than the ability to reproduce exact tone sequences. However, backward spans were lower than forward spans for all stimuli (digits, pseudowords, tones, contour). Curiously, backward spans were disproportionately lower for tones than for verbal material-that is, the requirement to recall sequences in backward rather than forward order seems to differentially affect tonal stimuli. This difference does not vary according to musical expertise.
Gulbinaite, Rasa; Johnson, Addie; de Jong, Ritske; Morey, Candice C; van Rijn, Hedderik
Individuals scoring relatively high on measures of working memory tend to be more proficient at controlling attention to minimize the effect of distracting information. It is currently unknown whether such superior attention control abilities are mediated by stronger suppression of irrelevant information, enhancement of relevant information, or both. Here we used steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) with the Eriksen flanker task to track simultaneously the attention to relevant and irrelevant information by tagging target and distractors with different frequencies. This design allowed us to dissociate attentional biasing of perceptual processing (via SSVEPs) and stimulus processing in the frontal cognitive control network (via time-frequency analyses of EEG data). We show that while preparing for the upcoming stimulus, high- and low-WMC individuals use different strategies: High-WMC individuals show attentional suppression of the irrelevant stimuli, whereas low-WMC individuals demonstrate attentional enhancement of the relevant stimuli. Moreover, behavioral performance was predicted by trial-to-trial fluctuations in strength of distractor-suppression for high-WMC participants. We found no evidence for WMC-related differences in cognitive control network functioning, as measured by midfrontal theta-band power. Taken together, these findings suggest that early suppression of irrelevant information is a key underlying neural mechanism by which superior attention control abilities are implemented.
Bresić, Jozo; Knezević, Bojana; Milosević, Milan; Tomljanović, Tomislav; Golubić, Rajna; Golubović, Rajna; Mustajbegović, Jadranka
This cross-sectional study conducted between March and June 2006 examined stress at work and work ability of 180 people with different workplaces within an oil company. Office, laboratory, and oil-field workers were invited to complete the "Occupational Stress Assessment Questionnaire--the Oil Industry Version and Work Ability Index (WAI) Questionnaire". The overall response rate was 69.4%, and the final sample size was 125 workers who completed the questionnaires (57 office, 41 laboratory, 27 oil-field workers). Office, laboratory, and oil-field workers differed significantly with respect to age (P<0.001). The oldest were oil-field workers and the youngest were office workers. The average WAI score for office workers was 44.9, for laboratory workers 43.2 and for field workers 39.7, indicating satisfying work ability. After adjusting for age, the difference in WAI score between the groups of workers was still significant (P<0.001). Over 75% of all workers believed their job was stressful, but the perception of specific stressors depended on the workplace.
Alamargot, Denis; Caporossi, Gilles; Chesnet, David; Ros, Christine
This study investigated the role of working memory capacity as a factor for individual differences in the ability to compose a text with communicative efficiency based on audience awareness. We analyzed its differential effects on the dynamics of the writing processes, as well as on the content of the finished product. Twenty-five graduate…
Pelegrina, Santiago; Capodieci, Agnese; Carretti, Barbara; Cornoldi, Cesare
It has been argued that children with learning disabilities (LD) encounter severe problems in working memory (WM) tasks, especially when they need to update information stored in their WM. It is not clear, however, to what extent this is due to a generally poor updating ability or to a difficulty specific to the domain to be processed. To examine…
Padilla, Francisca; Bajo, Maria Teresa; Macizo, Pedro
How do interpreters manage to cope with the adverse effects of concurrent articulation while trying to comprehend the message in the source language? In Experiments 1-3, we explored three possible working memory (WM) functions that may underlie the ability to simultaneously comprehend and produce in the interpreters: WM storage capacity,…
Newbury, Jayne; Klee, Thomas; Stokes, Stephanie F.; Moran, Catherine
Purpose: This study explored whether measures of working memory ability contribute to the wide variation in 2-year-olds' expressive vocabulary skills. Method: Seventy-nine children (aged 24-30 months) were assessed by using standardized tests of vocabulary and visual cognition, a processing speed measure, and behavioral measures of verbal working…
O'Hearn, Kirsten; Courtney, Susan; Street, Whitney; Landau, Barbara
Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with impaired visuospatial representations subserved by the dorsal stream and relatively strong object recognition abilities subserved by the ventral stream. There is conflicting evidence on whether this uneven pattern in WS extends to working memory (WM). The present studies…
Ecker, Ullrich K. H.; Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oberauer, Klaus; Chee, Abby E. H.
Working memory updating (WMU) has been identified as a cognitive function of prime importance for everyday tasks and has also been found to be a significant predictor of higher mental abilities. Yet, little is known about the constituent processes of WMU. We suggest that operations required in a typical WMU task can be decomposed into 3 major…
Humes, Larry E.; Floyd, Shari S.
This study describes the measurement of 2 cognitive functions, working-memory capacity and sequence learning, in 2 groups of listeners: young adults with normal hearing and elderly adults with impaired hearing. The measurement of these 2 cognitive abilities with a unique, nonverbal technique capable of auditory, visual, and auditory-visual…
Working memory (WM) generally refers to the human ability to temporarily maintain and manipulate a limited amount of information in immediate consciousness when carrying out complex cognitive tasks such as problem-solving and language comprehension. Though much controversy has surrounded the WM concept since its inception by Baddeley & Hitch…
McDonough, Kim; Trofimovich, Pavel
This study investigated whether second language (L2) speakers' morphosyntactic pattern learning was predicted by their statistical learning and working memory abilities. Across three experiments, Thai English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university students (N = 140) were exposed to either the transitive construction in Esperanto (e.g., "tauro…
Attout, Lucie; Noël, Marie-Pascale; Majerus, Steve
Despite numerous studies, the link between verbal working memory (WM) and calculation abilities remains poorly understood. The present longitudinal study focuses specifically on the role of serial order retention capacities, based on recent findings suggesting a link between ordinal processing in verbal WM and numerical processing tasks. Children…
Mammarella, Irene Cristina; Lucangeli, Daniela; Cornoldi, Cesare
Visuospatial working memory and its involvement in arithmetic were examined in two groups of 7- to 11-year-olds: one comprising children described by teachers as displaying symptoms of nonverbal learning difficulties (N = 21), the other a control group without learning disabilities (N = 21). The two groups were matched for verbal abilities, age,…
Jarosz, Andrew F.; Wiley, Jennifer
Current theories concerning individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) suggest that WMC reflects the ability to control the focus of attention and resist interference and distraction. The current set of experiments tested whether susceptibility to distraction is partially responsible for the established relationship between…
Loosli, Sandra V.; Rahm, Benjamin; Unterrainer, Josef M.; Weiller, Cornelius; Kaller, Christoph P.
Working memory (WM) as the ability to temporarily maintain and manipulate various kinds of information is known to be affected by proactive interference (PI) from previously relevant contents, but studies on developmental changes in the susceptibility to PI are scarce. In the present study, we investigated life span development of item-specific…
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
Mammarella, Irene Cristina; Lucangeli, Daniela; Cornoldi, Cesare
Visuospatial working memory and its involvement in arithmetic were examined in two groups of 7- to 11-year-olds: one comprising children described by teachers as displaying symptoms of nonverbal learning difficulties (N = 21), the other a control group without learning disabilities (N = 21). The two groups were matched for verbal abilities, age, gender, and sociocultural level. The children were presented with a visuospatial working memory battery of recognition tests involving visual, spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous processes, and two arithmetic tasks (number ordering and written calculations). The two groups were found to differ on some spatial tasks but not in the visual working memory tasks. On the arithmetic tasks, the children with nonverbal learning difficulties made more errors than controls in calculation and were slower in number ordering. A discriminant function analysis confirmed the crucial role of spatial-sequential working memory in distinguishing between the two groups. Results are discussed with reference to spatial working memory and arithmetic difficulties in nonverbal learning disabilities. Implications for the relationship between visuospatial working memory and arithmetic are also considered.
Smith, Andrew M; Spiegler, Kevin M; Sauce, Bruno; Wass, Christopher D; Sturzoiu, Tudor; Matzel, Louis D
Increases in performance on tests of attention and learning are often observed shortly after a period of aerobic exercise, and evidence suggests that humans who engage in regular exercise are partially protected from age-related cognitive decline. However, the cognitive benefits of exercise are typically short-lived, limiting the practical application of these observations. Here, we explored whether physical exercise might induce lasting changes in general cognitive ability if that exercise was combined with working memory training, which is purported to broadly impact cognitive performance. Mice received either exercise treatment (6 weeks of voluntary running wheel access), working memory training (in a dual radial-arm maze), both treatments, or various control treatments. After this period of exercise, working memory training was initiated (alternating with days of exercise), and continued for several weeks. Upon completion of these treatments, animals were assessed (2-4 weeks later) for performance on four diverse learning tasks, and the aggregate performance of individual animals across all four learning tasks was estimated. Working memory training alone promoted small increases in general cognitive performance, although any beneficial effects of exercise alone had dissipated by the time of learning assessments. However, the two treatments in combination more than doubled the improvement in general cognitive performance supported by working memory training alone. Unlike the transient effects that acute aerobic exercise can have on isolated learning tasks, these results indicate that an acute period of exercise combined with working memory training can have synergistic and lasting impact on general cognitive performance.
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
Herlitz, A; Airaksinen, E; Nordström, E
The impact of verbal and visuospatial ability on sex differences in episodic memory was investigated. One hundred men and 100 women, 2040 years old, participated in a series of verbal and visuospatial tasks. Episodic memory was assessed in tasks that, to a greater or lesser extent, were verbal or visuospatial in nature. Results showed that women excelled in verbal production tasks and that men performed at a superior level on a mental rotation task. In addition, women tended to perform at a higher level than men on most episodic memory tasks. Taken together, the results demonstrated that (a) women perform at a higher level than men on most verbal episodic memory tasks and on some episodic memory tasks with a visuospatial component, and (b) women's higher performance on episodic memory tasks cannot fully be explained by their superior performance on verbal production tasks.
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
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.
French, Kristen L; Granholm, Ann-Charlotte E; Moore, Alfred B; Nelson, Matthew E; Bimonte-Nelson, Heather A
The cholinergic system is involved in cognition and several forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and nicotine administration has been shown to improve cognitive performance in both humans and rodents. While experiments with humans have shown that nicotine improves the ability to handle an increasing working memory load, little work has been done in animal models evaluating nicotine effects on performance as working memory load increases. In this report, we demonstrate that in aged rats nicotine improved the ability to handle an increasing working memory load as well as enhanced performance on the reference memory component of the water radial arm maze task. The dose required to exert these effects (0.3mg/kg/day) was much lower than doses shown to be effective in young rats and appears to be a lower maintenance dose than is seen in light to moderate smokers. In addition, our study reports a nicotine-induced reduction in nerve growth factor (NGF) protein levels in the hippocampus of the aged rat. The effects of nicotine on hippocampal NGF levels are discussed as a potential mechanism of nicotine-induced improvements in working and reference memory.
Panesi, Sabrina; Morra, Sergio
Previous research suggests that young children draw animals by adapting their scheme for the human figure. This can be considered an early form of drawing flexibility. This study investigated preschoolers' ability to draw a dog that is different from the human figure. The role of working memory capacity and executive function was examined. The participants were 123 children (36-73 months old) who were required to draw both a person and a dog. The dog figure was scored on a list of features that could render it different from the human figure. Regression analyses showed that both working memory capacity and executive function predicted development in the dog drawing; the dog drawing score correlated with working memory capacity and executive function, even partialling out age, motor coordination, and drawing ability (measured with Goodenough's Draw-a-Man test). These results suggest that both working memory capacity and executive function play an important role in the early development of drawing flexibility. The implications regarding executive functions and working memory are also discussed.
Lechner, William V.; Day, Anne M.; Metrik, Jane; Leventhal, Adam M.; Kahler, Christopher W.
Rationale Alcohol use appears to decrease executive function acutely in a dose dependent manner, and lower baseline executive function appears to contribute to problematic alcohol use. However, no studies, to our knowledge, have examined the relationship between individual differences in working memory (a subcomponent of executive function) after alcohol consumption and drinking behaviors and consequences. Objectives The current study assessed the relationship between drinking behavior, alcohol-related consequences, and alcohol-induced changes in working memory (as assessed by Trails Making Test-B). Method Participants recruited from the community (n = 41), 57.3% male, mean age 39.2, took part in a three-session, within-subjects, repeated-measures design. Participants were administered a placebo, 0.4 g/kg, or 0.8 g/kg dose of alcohol. Working memory, past 30 day alcohol consumption, and consequences of alcohol use were measured at baseline; working memory was measured again after each beverage administration. Results Poorer working memory after alcohol administration (controlling for baseline working memory) was significantly associated with a greater number of drinks consumed per drinking day. Additionally, we observed a significant indirect relationship between the degree of alcohol-induced working memory decline and adverse consequences of alcohol use, which was mediated through greater average drinks per drinking day. Conclusions It is possible that greater individual susceptibility to alcohol-induced working memory decline may limit one’s ability to moderate alcohol consumption as evidenced by greater drinks per drinking day, and that this results in more adverse consequences of alcohol use. PMID:26407604
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.
Wilhelm, Oliver; Hildebrandt, Andrea; Oberauer, Klaus
A latent variable study examined whether different classes of working-memory tasks measure the same general construct of working-memory capacity (WMC). Data from 270 subjects were used to examine the relationship between Binding, Updating, Recall-N-back, and Complex Span tasks, and the relations of WMC with secondary memory measures, indicators of cognitive control from two response-conflict paradigms (Simon task and Eriksen flanker task), and fluid intelligence. Confirmatory factor analyses support the concept of a general WMC factor. Results from structural-equation modeling show negligible relations of WMC with response-conflict resolution, and very strong relations of WMC with secondary memory and fluid intelligence. The findings support the hypothesis that individual differences in WMC reflect the ability to build, maintain and update arbitrary bindings. PMID:23898309
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…
Ali, Fuziana; Yunus, Melor Md
This study was conducted to examine language learning strategies employed by the high ability students in a rural secondary school. Memory and cognitive strategies employed by the high ability students were the main focus in this study. A survey design was used and data was collected using Oxford's questionnaires. Findings reveal that the high…
Blacker, Kara J; Curby, Kim M; Klobusicky, Elizabeth; Chein, Jason M
The ability to hold visual information in mind over a brief delay is critical for acquiring information and navigating a complex visual world. Despite the ubiquitous nature of visual working memory (VWM) in our everyday lives, this system is fundamentally limited in capacity. Therefore, the potential to improve VWM through training is a growing area of research. An emerging body of literature suggests that extensive experience playing action video games yields a myriad of perceptual and attentional benefits. Several lines of converging work suggest that action video game play may influence VWM as well. The current study utilized a training paradigm to examine whether action video games cause improvements to the quantity and/or the quality of information stored in VWM. The results suggest that VWM capacity, as measured by a change detection task, is increased after action video game training, as compared with training on a control game, and that some improvement to VWM precision occurs with action game training as well. However, these findings do not appear to extend to a complex span measure of VWM, which is often thought to tap into higher-order executive skills. The VWM improvements seen in individuals trained on an action video game cannot be accounted for by differences in motivation or engagement, differential expectations, or baseline differences in demographics as compared with the control group used. In sum, action video game training represents a potentially unique and engaging platform by which this severely capacity-limited VWM system might be enhanced.
Jang, Saebyeol; Dilger, Ryan N.; Johnson, Rodney W.
A dysregulated overexpression of inflammatory mediators by microglia may facilitate cognitive aging and neurodegeneration. Considerable evidence suggests the flavonoid luteolin has antiinflammatory effects, but its ability to inhibit microglia, reduce inflammatory mediators, and improve hippocampal-dependent learning and memory in aged mice is unknown. In initial studies, pretreatment of BV-2 microglia with luteolin inhibited the induction of inflammatory genes and the release of inflammatory mediators after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Supernatants from LPS-stimulated microglia caused discernible death in Neuro.2a cells. However, treating microglia with luteolin prior to LPS reduced neuronal cell death caused by conditioned supernatants, indicating luteolin was neuroprotective. In subsequent studies, adult (3–6 mo) and aged (22–24 mo) mice were fed control or luteolin (20 mg/d)-supplemented diet for 4 wk and spatial working memory was assessed as were several inflammatory markers in the hippocampus. Aged mice fed control diet exhibited deficits in spatial working memory and expression of inflammatory markers in the hippocampus indicative of increased microglial cell activity. Luteolin consumption improved spatial working memory and restored expression of inflammatory markers in the hippocampus compared with that of young adults. Luteolin did not affect either spatial working memory or inflammatory markers in young adults. Taken together, the current findings suggest dietary luteolin enhanced spatial working memory by mitigating microglial-associated inflammation in the hippocampus. Therefore, luteolin consumption may be beneficial in preventing or treating conditions involving increased microglial cell activity and inflammation. PMID:20685893
Mishra, Jyoti; Bavelier, Daphne; Gazzaley, Adam
Our daily actions are driven by our goals in the moment, constantly forcing us to choose among various options. Attention and working memory are key enablers of that process. Attention allows for selective processing of goal-relevant information and rejecting task-irrelevant information. Working memory functions to maintain goal-relevant information in memory for brief periods of time for subsequent recall and/or manipulation. Efficient attention and working memory thus support the best extraction and retention of environmental information for optimal task performance. Recent studies have evidenced that attention and working memory abilities can be enhanced by cognitive training games as well as entertainment videogames. Here we review key cognitive paradigms that have been used to evaluate the impact of game-based training on various aspects of attention and working memory. Common use of such methodology within the scientific community will enable direct comparison of the efficacy of different games across age groups and clinical populations. The availability of common assessment tools will ultimately facilitate development of the most effective forms of game-based training for cognitive rehabilitation and education.
Norrefalk, Jan-Rickard; Littwold-Pöljö, Agneta; Ryhle, Leif; Jansen, Gunilla Brodda
To evaluate the effect of a 1-2 week multiprofessional team assessment, without a real rehabilitation effort, 60 patients suffering from long-standing pain and on long-lasting time on sick leave were studied. A questionnaire concerning their daily activities, quality of life, pain intensity, sick-leave level, and their work state was filled out by all patients before starting the assessment and at a 1-year follow-up. The results from the assessment period and the multiprofessional team decision of the patient's working ability were compared with the actual working rate after 1 year. The follow-up showed a significant reduction of sick leave and a higher level of activity (P < 0.001). One year after the initial evaluation, 40% showed a reduction in sickness benefit level and 12% resumed full-time work. However, the team evaluation of the patient's work ability did not correlate to predict the actual outcome. The patient's pain intensity, life satisfaction, gender, age, ethnic background, and time absent from work before the start of the evaluation showed no correlation to reduction on time on sickness benefit level. These parameters could not be used as predictors in this study.
Mathy, Fabien; Fartoukh, Michael; Gauvrit, Nicolas; Guida, Alessandro
Both adults and children –by the time they are 2–3 years old– have a general ability to recode information to increase memory efficiency. This paper aims to evaluate the ability of untrained children aged 6–10 years old to deploy such a recoding process in immediate memory. A large sample of 374 children were given a task of immediate serial report based on SIMON®, a classic memory game made of four colored buttons (red, green, yellow, blue) requiring players to reproduce a sequence of colors within which repetitions eventually occur. It was hypothesized that a primitive ability across all ages (since theoretically already available in toddlers) to detect redundancies allows the span to increase whenever information can be recoded on the fly. The chunkable condition prompted the formation of chunks based on the perceived structure of color repetition within to-be-recalled sequences of colors. Our result shows a similar linear improvement of memory span with age for both chunkable and non-chunkable conditions. The amount of information retained in immediate memory systematically increased for the groupable sequences across all age groups, independently of the average age-group span that was measured on sequences that contained fewer repetitions. This result shows that chunking gives young children an equal benefit as older children. We discuss the role of recoding in the expansion of capacity in immediate memory and the potential role of data compression in the formation of chunks in long-term memory. PMID:26941675
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.
Gmeindl, Leon; Courtney, Susan M.
Objective To investigate whether spatial working memory (WM) is impaired in multiple sclerosis (MS), and, if it is, to localize impairment to specific cognitive subprocess(es). Method In Experiment 1, MS and control participants performed computerized memory-span and visuomotor tasks. WM subprocesses were taxed by manipulating (1) the requirement to remember serial order, (2) delay duration, and (3) the presence of irrelevant stimuli during target presentation. In Experiment 2, recall and recognition tests varied the difficulty of WM retrieval. In Experiment 3, an attention-cueing task tested the ability to voluntarily and rapidly reorient attention. Results Performance was worse for MS than for control participants in both spatial recall (Exp. 1 span: 95% CIMS = [5.11, 5.57], 95% CIControls = [5.58, 6.03], p = 0.003, 1-tailed; Exp. 2 span: 95% CIMS = [4.44, 5.54], 95% CIControls = [5.47, 6.57], p = 0.006, 1-tailed) and recognition (accuracy: 95% CIMS = [0.71, 0.81], 95% CIControls = [0.79, 0.88], p = 0.01, 1-tailed) tests. However, there was no evidence for deficits in spatiotemporal binding, maintenance, retrieval, distractor suppression, or visuomotor processing. In contrast, MS participants were abnormally slow to reorient attention (cueing effect (ms): 95% CIMS: [90, 169], 95% CIControls: [29, 107], p = 0.015, 1-tailed). Conclusions Results suggest that, whereas spatial WM is impaired in MS, once spatial information has been adequately encoded into WM, individuals with MS are, on average, able to maintain and retrieve this information. Impoverished encoding of spatial information, however, may be due to inefficient voluntary orienting of attention. PMID:22059650
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.
Gibson, Bradley S.; Gondoli, Dawn M.; Kronenberger, William G.; Johnson, Ann C.; Steeger, Christine M.; Morrissey, Rebecca A.
The dual-component model contends that WM capacity consists of two components. The first is a flexible attention component that involves the active maintenance of a limited amount of information in primary memory (PM), and the second is a controlled retrieval component that involves a cue-dependent search of secondary memory (SM) for information that has been lost from PM. Recent evidence has suggested that the adaptive working memory (WM) training regimen known as “Cogmed-RM” is not optimally designed because it only targets PM abilities, but not SM abilities. The present study was conducted to investigate whether Cogmed-RM could be modified to target SM abilities by decreasing the recall accuracy threshold that defines individual ability during training. The main findings suggested that the SM component of WM capacity could be targeted by lowering the recall accuracy threshold. The present findings are important because they suggest that adaptive training regimens can be designed that selectively target specific components of WM capacity and raise the possibility that the potency of existing training regimens can be increased. PMID:23371772
Various kinds of observations show that the ability of human beings to both consciously relive past events – episodic memory – and conceive future events, entails an active process of construction. This construction process also underpins many other important aspects of conscious human life, such as perceptions, language, and conscious thinking. This article provides an explanation of what makes the constructive process possible and how it works. The process mainly relies on attentional activity, which has a discrete and periodic nature, and working memory, which allows for the combination of discrete attentional operations. An explanation is also provided of how past and future events are constructed. PMID:25177305
Tanaka, Akio; Funahashi, Shintaro
The ability to monitor one's own memory processes is an important feature of human cognition and is referred to as metamemory. Although several human neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies have been conducted on metamemory, the neural mechanism that underlies this cognitive function is still unknown due to a lack of neurobiological research using nonhuman animals. In the present study, we trained four macaque monkeys to perform an oculomotor working memory task that was designed to be suitable for various neurobiological approaches to metamemory. In this task, the monkeys were sometimes allowed to choose to either take or escape from a spatial working memory test (Choice condition) and sometimes forced to take the test (Test condition). The difficulty of the task was manipulated by varying the number of distractors. We used two criteria to determine whether the monkeys showed metamnemonic ability: (1) there should be a negative correlation between memory performance in the Test condition and the escape rate in the Choice condition, and (2) memory performance should be better in the Choice condition than in the Test condition. Three of the four monkeys fulfilled these criteria. In addition, the response times of one of these three monkeys provided additional evidence that it used metamnemonic ability. These results suggest that the present task can be a useful tool for investigating the neural mechanism of metamemory in monkeys. Neurobiological research on metamemory using primate models is necessary to understand human cognition, and our study contributes to progress in this research area.
Changes in work techniques, musculoskeletal symptoms and work ability were studied after occupationally-oriented rehabilitation courses for farmers experiencing low back or shoulder pain. Fifty-two women and 43 men participated. The OWAS analysis of work postures, biomechanical modeling of lifting techniques, and a questionnaire were used before and after the courses and after 1 year of follow-up. Bent and twisted postures or postures with the arms over the shoulders occurred more seldom after the courses and the follow-up. Changes in lifting techniques were minor. The musculoskeletal pain index decreased by 12 and 3 points for the women and men, respectively. The mean work ability index increased from 33.5 (men and women) to 36.5 (women) and 35.1 (men). This study showed that rehabilitation can produce significant, long-lasting effects on rehabilitees' work techniques, work ability, and subjective well-being.
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
Voyer, Daniel; Voyer, Susan D; Saint-Aubin, Jean
Visual-spatial working memory measures are widely used in clinical and experimental settings. Furthermore, it has been argued that the male advantage in spatial abilities can be explained by a sex difference in visual-spatial working memory. Therefore, sex differences in visual-spatial working memory have important implication for research, theory, and practice, but they have yet to be quantified. The present meta-analysis quantified the magnitude of sex differences in visual-spatial working memory and examined variables that might moderate them. The analysis used a set of 180 effect sizes from healthy males and females drawn from 98 samples ranging in mean age from 3 to 86 years. Multilevel meta-analysis was used on the overall data set to account for non-independent effect sizes. The data also were analyzed in separate task subgroups by means of multilevel and mixed-effects models. Results showed a small but significant male advantage (mean d = 0.155, 95 % confidence interval = 0.087-0.223). All the tasks produced a male advantage, except for memory for location, where a female advantage emerged. Age of the participants was a significant moderator, indicating that sex differences in visual-spatial working memory appeared first in the 13-17 years age group. Removing memory for location tasks from the sample affected the pattern of significant moderators. The present results indicate a male advantage in visual-spatial working memory, although age and specific task modulate the magnitude and direction of the effects. Implications for clinical applications, cognitive model building, and experimental research are discussed.
Barski, Artem; Cuddapah, Suresh; Kartashov, Andrey V.; Liu, Chong; Imamichi, Hiromi; Yang, Wenjing; Peng, Weiqun; Lane, H. Clifford; Zhao, Keji
Even though T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation together with co-stimulation is sufficient for the activation of both naïve and memory T cells, the memory cells are capable of producing lineage specific cytokines much more rapidly than the naïve cells. The mechanisms behind this rapid recall response of the memory cells are still not completely understood. Here, we performed epigenetic profiling of human resting naïve, central and effector memory T cells using ChIP-Seq and found that unlike the naïve cells, the regulatory elements of the cytokine genes in the memory T cells are marked by activating histone modifications even in the resting state. Therefore, the ability to induce expression of rapid recall genes upon activation is associated with the deposition of positive histone modifications during memory T cell differentiation. We propose a model of T cell memory, in which immunological memory state is encoded epigenetically, through poising and transcriptional memory. PMID:28054639
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.
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.
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.
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…
In this study, we investigate the development of primary memory capacity among children. Children between the ages of 5 and 8 completed 3 novel tasks (split span, interleaved lists, and a modified free-recall task) that measured primary memory by estimating the number of items in the focus of attention that could be spontaneously recalled in serial order. These tasks were calibrated against traditional measures of simple and complex span. Clear age-related changes in these primary memory estimates were observed. There were marked individual differences in primary memory capacity, but each novel measure was predictive of simple span performance. Among older children, each measure shared variance with reading and mathematics performance, whereas for younger children, the interleaved lists task was the strongest single predictor of academic ability. We argue that these novel tasks have considerable potential for the measurement of primary memory capacity and provide new, complementary ways of measuring the transient memory processes that predict academic performance. The interleaved lists task also shared features with interference control tasks, and our findings suggest that young children have a particular difficulty in resisting distraction and that variance in the ability to resist distraction is also shared with measures of educational attainment. PMID:26075630
Czarnolewski, Mark Y; Eliot, John
Test scores of 119 students, attending either a public four-year college or a technical school, were related to their proportionality and detail drawing scores on the Memory for Designs Test. In regression models, the ETS Maze Tracing, Eliot-Price Mental Rotations, and Bender-Gestalt tests were consistent predictors of proportionality scores, with the latter two tests uniquely related to these. The ETS Shapes Memory Test and the Form Board Test were the strongest predictors for detail accuracy scores. The Shapes test predicted proportionality when the CTY Visual Memory Test BB was excluded. The models then provided support for the hypothesis that drawing designs from memory, a critical skill in drawing, regardless of whether one focuses on accuracy for proportionality scores or for detail scores, is jointly related to the measures of recognition, production, and traditional spatial ability measures. This study identified multifaceted skills in drawing from memory.
Shelton, Don J; Kirwan, C Brock
Pattern separation is a mechanism for encoding memories, whereby distinct memory representations are created for very similar stimuli and events. It has been proposed that depression negatively impacts pattern separation abilities. However, a link between depression and performance in memory tasks requiring pattern separation is still unclear even though it is well established that depression is associated with reduced declarative memory performance and decreased hippocampal volume. Accordingly, we designed a study to investigate the relationship between pattern separation performance and the severity of depression symptoms in an otherwise healthy population. Participants completed a pattern separation memory test and a set of questionnaires to gauge their level of depression. We found a negative relationship between depression scores and pattern separation scores. These results provide support for the idea that depression is negatively related to pattern separation performance.
Wynn, Thomas; Coolidge, Frederick L.
What distinguishes the cognition of biologically modern humans from that of more archaic populations such as Neandertals? The norm in paleoanthropology has been to emphasize the role of language and symbolism. But the modern mind is more than just an archaic mind enhanced by symbol use. It also possesses an important problem solving and planning component. In cognitive neuroscience these advanced planning abilities have been extensively investigated through a formal model known as working memory. The working memory model is now well-enough established to provide a powerful lens through which paleoanthropologists can view the fossil and archaeological records. The challenge is methodological. The following essay reviews the controversial hypothesis that a recent enhancement of working memory capacity was the final piece in the evolution of modern cognition. PMID:21716664
Giofrè, David; Mammarella, Irene Cristina; Cornoldi, Cesare
Although geometry is one of the main areas of mathematical learning, the cognitive processes underlying geometry-related academic achievement have not been studied in detail. This study explored the relationship among working memory (WM), intelligence (g factor), and geometry in 176 typically developing children attending school in their fourth and fifth grades. Structural equation modeling showed that approximately 40% of the variance in academic achievement and in intuitive geometry (which is assumed to be independent of a person's cultural background) was explained by WM and the g factor. After taking intelligence and WM into account, intuitive geometry was no longer significantly related to academic achievement in geometry. We also found intuitive geometry to be closely related to fluid intelligence (as measured by Raven's colored progressive matrices) and reasoning ability, whereas academic achievement in geometry depended largely on WM. These results were confirmed by a series of regressions in which we estimated the contributions of WM, intelligence, and intuitive geometry to the unique and shared variance explaining academic achievement in geometry. Theoretical and educational implications of the relationship among WM, intelligence, and academic achievement in geometry are discussed.
major should be called into question. Klapp . Marshburu. and i experimental effects are often cited as supporting buffer Lester (1983) have clearly...effect found In digit and word Sternberg scanning task (experiment #7). Klapp and span. Buffers are reflected in the connectlonist/control Philipoff...ofcaulto.Cgion1.9510 Klapp , S.T.. Marshburn. E.A.. & P.T. Lester (193). Short-term memory does not Involve the 8working memory* of Information processlng
Doherty, Karen A; Desjardins, Jamie L
Untreated hearing loss can interfere with an individual's cognitive abilities and intellectual function. Specifically, hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact working memory function, which is important for speech understanding, especially in difficult or noisy listening conditions. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effect of hearing aid use on auditory working memory function in middle-aged and young-older adults with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss. Participants completed two objective measures of auditory working memory in aided and unaided listening conditions. An aged matched control group followed the same experimental protocol except they were not fit with hearing aids. All participants' aided scores on the auditory working memory tests were significantly improved while wearing hearing aids. Thus, hearing aids worn during the early stages of an age-related hearing loss can improve a person's performance on auditory working memory tests.
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
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
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
Thomas, April Gile; Monahan, Kathryn C; Lukowski, Angela F; Cauffman, Elizabeth
Problematic sleep can be detrimental to the development of important cognitive functions, such as working memory, and may have the potential for negative behavioral consequences, such as risk-taking. In this way, sleep problems may be particularly harmful for youth-whose cognitive abilities are still developing and who are more susceptible to risky behavior. Using data from a large, national, longitudinal study, continuity and change in sleep problems were examined from 2 to 15 years of age and associated with deficits in working memory at age 15 and risk taking behaviors at age 18. Participants (N = 1,364 children; 48.3% female) were assessed for sleep problems (parent-report), working memory (behavioral task), and risk taking behavior (youth self-report). The sample was predominantly White (80.4%); additional races represented in the sample included Black/African American (12.9%), Asian/Pacific Islander (1.6%), American Indian/Eskimo/Aleut (.4%), and Other (4.7%). The findings suggest that sleep problems are likely to cascade across development, with sleep problems demonstrating continuity from infancy to early childhood, early childhood to middle childhood, and middle childhood to adolescence. Although sleep problems in infancy, early childhood, and middle childhood were not directly related to adolescent working memory, sleep problems during adolescence were associated with poorer adolescent working memory. In turn, these deficits in working memory were related to greater risk taking in late adolescence. In summary, the present results suggest that sleep problems in earlier periods are indicative of risk for sleep problems later in development, but that sleep problems in adolescence contribute uniquely to deficits in working memory that, in turn, lead to risky behavior during late adolescence.
Drummond, Sean P. A.; Anderson, Dane E.; Straus, Laura D.; Vogel, Edward K.; Perez, Veronica B.
Sleep deprivation has adverse consequences for a variety of cognitive functions. The exact effects of sleep deprivation, though, are dependent upon the cognitive process examined. Within working memory, for example, some component processes are more vulnerable to sleep deprivation than others. Additionally, the differential impacts on cognition of different types of sleep deprivation have not been well studied. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of one night of total sleep deprivation and 4 nights of partial sleep deprivation (4 hours in bed/night) on two components of visual working memory: capacity and filtering efficiency. Forty-four healthy young adults were randomly assigned to one of the two sleep deprivation conditions. All participants were studied: 1) in a well-rested condition (following 6 nights of 9 hours in bed/night); and 2) following sleep deprivation, in a counter-balanced order. Visual working memory testing consisted of two related tasks. The first measured visual working memory capacity and the second measured the ability to ignore distractor stimuli in a visual scene (filtering efficiency). Results showed neither type of sleep deprivation reduced visual working memory capacity. Partial sleep deprivation also generally did not change filtering efficiency. Total sleep deprivation, on the other hand, did impair performance in the filtering task. These results suggest components of visual working memory are differentially vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation, and different types of sleep deprivation impact visual working memory to different degrees. Such findings have implications for operational settings where individuals may need to perform with inadequate sleep and whose jobs involve receiving an array of visual information and discriminating the relevant from the irrelevant prior to making decisions or taking actions (e.g., baggage screeners, air traffic controllers, military personnel, health care providers). PMID
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
Bigelow, Robin T; Agrawal, Yuri
A growing body of literature suggests the inner ear vestibular system has a substantial impact on cognitive function. The strongest evidence exists in connecting vestibular function to the cognitive domain of visuospatial ability, which includes spatial memory, navigation, mental rotation, and mental representation of three-dimensional space. Substantial evidence also exists suggesting the vestibular system has an impact on attention and cognitive processing ability. The cognitive domains of memory and executive function are also implicated in a number of studies. We will review the current literature, discuss possible causal links between vestibular dysfunction and cognitive performance, and suggest areas of future research.
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
Jaroslawska, Agnieszka J; Gathercole, Susan E; Logie, Matthew R; Holmes, Joni
Accumulating evidence that working memory supports the ability to follow instructions has so far been restricted to experimental paradigms that have greatly simplified the practical demands of performing actions to instructions in everyday tasks. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether working memory is involved in maintaining information over the longer periods of time that are more typical of everyday situations that require performing instructions to command. Forty-two children 7-11 years of age completed assessments of working memory, a real-world following-instructions task employing 3-D objects, and two new computerized instruction-following tasks involving navigation around a virtual school to complete a sequence of practical spoken commands. One task involved performing actions in a single classroom, and the other, performing actions in multiple locations in a virtual school building. Verbal working memory was closely linked with all three following-instructions paradigms, but with greater association to the virtual than to the real-world tasks. These results indicate that verbal working memory plays a key role in following instructions over extended periods of activity.
Kreitz, Carina; Furley, Philip; Memmert, Daniel; Simons, Daniel J
The probability of inattentional blindness, the failure to notice an unexpected object when attention is engaged on some primary task, is influenced by contextual factors like task demands, features of the unexpected object, and the observer's attention set. However, predicting who will notice an unexpected object and who will remain inattentionally blind has proven difficult, and the evidence that individual differences in cognition affect noticing remains ambiguous. We hypothesized that greater working memory capacity might modulate the effect of attention sets on noticing because working memory is associated with the ability to focus attention selectively. People with greater working memory capacity might be better able to attend selectively to target items, thereby increasing the chances of noticing unexpected objects that were similar to the attended items while decreasing the odds of noticing unexpected objects that differed from the attended items. Our study (N = 120 participants) replicated evidence that task-induced attention sets modulate noticing but found no link between noticing and working memory capacity. Our results are largely consistent with the idea that individual differences in working memory capacity do not predict noticing of unexpected objects in an inattentional blindness task.
Hadar, Britt; Skrzypek, Joshua E.; Wingfield, Arthur; Ben-David, Boaz M.
In daily life, speech perception is usually accompanied by other tasks that tap into working memory capacity. However, the role of working memory on speech processing is not clear. The goal of this study was to examine how working memory load affects the timeline for spoken word recognition in ideal listening conditions. We used the “visual world” eye-tracking paradigm. The task consisted of spoken instructions referring to one of four objects depicted on a computer monitor (e.g., “point at the candle”). Half of the trials presented a phonological competitor to the target word that either overlapped in the initial syllable (onset) or at the last syllable (offset). Eye movements captured listeners' ability to differentiate the target noun from its depicted phonological competitor (e.g., candy or sandal). We manipulated working memory load by using a digit pre-load task, where participants had to retain either one (low-load) or four (high-load) spoken digits for the duration of a spoken word recognition trial. The data show that the high-load condition delayed real-time target discrimination. Specifically, a four-digit load was sufficient to delay the point of discrimination between the spoken target word and its phonological competitor. Our results emphasize the important role working memory plays in speech perception, even when performed by young adults in ideal listening conditions. PMID:27242424
Hadar, Britt; Skrzypek, Joshua E; Wingfield, Arthur; Ben-David, Boaz M
In daily life, speech perception is usually accompanied by other tasks that tap into working memory capacity. However, the role of working memory on speech processing is not clear. The goal of this study was to examine how working memory load affects the timeline for spoken word recognition in ideal listening conditions. We used the "visual world" eye-tracking paradigm. The task consisted of spoken instructions referring to one of four objects depicted on a computer monitor (e.g., "point at the candle"). Half of the trials presented a phonological competitor to the target word that either overlapped in the initial syllable (onset) or at the last syllable (offset). Eye movements captured listeners' ability to differentiate the target noun from its depicted phonological competitor (e.g., candy or sandal). We manipulated working memory load by using a digit pre-load task, where participants had to retain either one (low-load) or four (high-load) spoken digits for the duration of a spoken word recognition trial. The data show that the high-load condition delayed real-time target discrimination. Specifically, a four-digit load was sufficient to delay the point of discrimination between the spoken target word and its phonological competitor. Our results emphasize the important role working memory plays in speech perception, even when performed by young adults in ideal listening conditions.
Sebastian, Veronica; Diallo, Aissatou; Ling, Douglas S F; Serrano, Peter A
Globally, it is estimated that nearly 10 million people sustain severe brain injuries leading to hospitalization and/or death every year. Amongst survivors, traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a wide variety of physical, emotional and cognitive deficits. The most common cognitive deficit associated with TBI is memory loss, involving impairments in spatial reference and working memory. However, the majority of research thus far has characterized the deficits associated with TBI on either reference or working memory systems separately, without investigating how they interact within a single task. Thus, we examined the effects of TBI on short-term working and long-term reference memory using the radial 8-arm maze (RAM) with a sequence of four baited and four unbaited arms. Subjects were given 10 daily trials for 6 days followed by a memory retrieval test 2 weeks after training. Multiple training trials not only provide robust training, but also test the subjects' ability to frequently update short-term memory while learning the reference rules of the task. Our results show that TBI significantly impaired short-term working memory function on previously acquired spatial information but has little effect on long-term reference memory. Additionally, TBI significantly increased working memory errors during acquisition and reference memory errors during retention testing 2 weeks later. With a longer recovery period after TBI, the robust RAM training mitigated the reference memory deficit in retention but not the short-term working memory deficit during acquisition. These results identify the resiliency and vulnerabilities of short-term working and long-term reference memory to TBI in the context of robust training. The data highlight the role of cognitive training and other behavioral remediation strategies implicated in attenuating deficits associated with TBI.
Chasteen, Alison L; Pichora-Fuller, M Kathleen; Dupuis, Kate; Smith, Sherri; Singh, Gurjit
Memory and hearing are critical domains that interact during older adults' daily communication and social encounters. To develop a more comprehensive picture of how aging influences performance in these domains, the roles of social variables such as views of aging and self-perceived abilities need greater examination. The present study investigates the linkages between views of aging, self-perceived abilities, and performance within and across the domains of memory and hearing, connections that have never been examined together within the same sample of older adults. For both domains, 301 older adults completed measures of their views of aging, their self-perceived abilities and behavioral tests. Using structural equation modeling, we tested a hypothesized model in which older adults' negative views of aging predicted their performance in the domains of memory and hearing through negatively affecting their self-perceived abilities in those domains. Although this model achieved adequate fit, an alternative model in which hearing performance predicted self-perceived hearing also was supported. Both models indicate that hearing influences memory with respect to both behavioral and self-perception measures and that negative views of aging influence self-perceptions in both domains. These results highlight the importance of views of aging and self-perceptions of abilities within and across these domains.
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.
Oberauer, Klaus; Schulze, Ralf; Wilhelm, Oliver; Süss, Heinz-Martin
On the basis of a meta-analysis of pairwise correlations between working memory tasks and cognitive ability measures, P. L. Ackerman, M. E. Beier, and M. O. Boyle (2005; see record 2004-22408-002) claimed that working memory capacity (WMC) shares less than 25% of its variance with general intelligence (g) and with reasoning ability. In this comment, the authors argue that this is an underestimation because of several methodological shortcomings and biases. A reanalysis of the data reported in Ackerman et al. using the correct statistical procedures demonstrates that g and WMC are very highly correlated. On a conceptual level, the authors point out that WMC should be regarded as an explanatory construct for intellectual abilities. Theories of working memory do not claim that WMC is isomorphic with intelligence factors but that it is a very strong predictor of reasoning ability and also predicts general fluid intelligence and g.
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.
Saunders, Nerida; Downham, Russell; Turman, Bulent; Kropotov, Juri; Clark, Richard; Yumash, Rustam; Szatmary, Arielle
This pilot study investigated the feasibility of treating people suffering from both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and poor working memory by employing a combination of computerized working memory training and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). After treatment, all four participants showed clinically significant improvements on a range of cognitive and emotional performance measures. Moreover, these improvements were accompanied by theoretically significant neurophysiological changes between pre- and post-treatment electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. Specifically, the P3a component of participants' event related potentials (ERP) in response to novelty stimuli, characteristically abnormal in this clinical population, shifted significantly toward database norms. So, participants' initially slow alpha peak frequency (APF), theorized to underlie impaired cognitive processing abilities, also increased in both frequency and amplitude as a result of treatment. On the basis of these promising results, more extensive controlled studies are warranted.
Lawlor-Savage, Linette; Goghari, Vina M.
Enhancing cognitive ability is an attractive concept, particularly for middle-aged adults interested in maintaining cognitive functioning and preventing age-related declines. Computerized working memory training has been investigated as a safe method of cognitive enhancement in younger and older adults, although few studies have considered the potential impact of working memory training on middle-aged adults. This study investigated dual n-back working memory training in healthy adults aged 30–60. Fifty-seven adults completed measures of working memory, processing speed, and fluid intelligence before and after a 5-week web-based dual n-back or active control (processing speed) training program. Results: Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance failed to identify improvements across the three cognitive composites, working memory, processing speed, and fluid intelligence, after training. Follow-up Bayesian analyses supported null findings for training effects for each individual composite. Findings suggest that dual n-back working memory training may not benefit working memory or fluid intelligence in healthy adults. Further investigation is necessary to clarify if other forms of working memory training may be beneficial, and what factors impact training-related benefits, should they occur, in this population. PMID:27043141
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.
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
Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Redick, Thomas S; Hulme, Charles
It has been claimed that working memory training programs produce diverse beneficial effects. This article presents a meta-analysis of working memory training studies (with a pretest-posttest design and a control group) that have examined transfer to other measures (nonverbal ability, verbal ability, word decoding, reading comprehension, or arithmetic; 87 publications with 145 experimental comparisons). Immediately following training there were reliable improvements on measures of intermediate transfer (verbal and visuospatial working memory). For measures of far transfer (nonverbal ability, verbal ability, word decoding, reading comprehension, arithmetic) there was no convincing evidence of any reliable improvements when working memory training was compared with a treated control condition. Furthermore, mediation analyses indicated that across studies, the degree of improvement on working memory measures was not related to the magnitude of far-transfer effects found. Finally, analysis of publication bias shows that there is no evidential value from the studies of working memory training using treated controls. The authors conclude that working memory training programs appear to produce short-term, specific training effects that do not generalize to measures of "real-world" cognitive skills. These results seriously question the practical and theoretical importance of current computerized working memory programs as methods of training working memory skills.
Objective. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of aging on the strategic control of attention and the extent to which this relationship is mediated by working memory capacity (WMC). This study also sought to investigate boundary conditions wherein age differences in selectivity may occur. Method. Across 2 studies, the value-directed remembering task used by Castel and colleagues (Castel, A. D., Balota, D. A., & McCabe, D. P. (2009). Memory efficiency and the strategic control of attention at encoding: Impairments of value-directed remembering in Alzheimer’s Disease. Neuropsychology, 23, 297–306) was modified to include value-directed forgetting. Study 2 incorporated valence as an additional task demand, and age differences were predicted in both studies due to increased demands of controlled processing. Automated operation span and Stroop span were included as working memory measures, and working memory was predicted to mediate performance. Results. Results confirmed these predictions, as older adults were less efficient in maximizing selectivity scores when high demands were placed on selectivity processes, and working memory was found to mediate performance on this task. Discussion. When list length was increased from previous studies and participants were required to actively forget negative-value words, older adults were not able to selectively encode high-value information to the same degree as younger adults. Furthermore, WMC appears to support the ability to selectively encode information. PMID:22865825
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…
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…
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,…