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…
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.
Salazar-Villanea, Monica; Liebmann, Edward; Garnier-Villarreal, Mauricio; Montenegro-Montenegro, Esteban; Johnson, David K.
Objectives Low and middle income nations will experience an unprecedented growth of the elderly population and subsequent increase in age-related neurological disorders. Worldwide prevalence and incidence of all-types of neurological disorders with serious mental health complications will increase with life expectancy across the globe. One-in- ten individuals over 75 has at least moderate cognitive impairment. Prevalence of cognitive impairment doubles every 5 years thereafter. Latin America’s population of older adult’s 65 years and older is growing rapidly, yet little is known about cognitive aging among healthy older Latinos. Clinically significant depressive symptomatology is common among community-dwelling older adults and is associated with deficits across multiple cognitive domains, however much of the literature has not modeled the unique effects of depression distinct from negative and low positive affect. Our objective was to understand how mental health affects cognitive health in healthy aging Latinos. Methods The present study used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the relative effects of Negative Affect, Positive Affect and Geriatric Depression on Verbal Memory, Verbal Reasoning, Processing Speed, and Working Memory in healthy aging Latinos. Data was collected from a sample of healthy community dwelling older adults living in San Jose, Costa Rica. Modeling of latent variables attenuated error and improved measurement reliability of cognition, affect, and depression variables. Results Costa Ricans enjoy a notoriety for being much happier than US citizens and are renowned as one of the happiest nations in the world in global surveys. This was born out in these data. Costa Rican affective profiles differed substantively from US profiles. Levels of negative affect and depression were similar to US samples, but their levels of positive affect were much higher. Cognitive performance of these Costa Rican
Walrave, Laura; Vinken, Mathieu; Albertini, Giulia; De Bundel, Dimitri; Leybaert, Luc; Smolders, Ilse J.
Astrocytes are active players in higher brain function as they can release gliotransmitters, which are essential for synaptic plasticity. Various mechanisms have been proposed for gliotransmission, including vesicular mechanisms as well as non-vesicular ones, for example by passive diffusion via connexin hemichannels (HCs). We here investigated whether interfering with connexin43 (Cx43) HCs influenced hippocampal spatial memory. We made use of the peptide Gap19 that blocks HCs but not gap junction channels and is specific for Cx43. To this end, we microinfused transactivator of transcription linked Gap19 (TAT-Gap19) into the brain ventricle of male NMRI mice and assessed spatial memory in a Y maze. We found that the in vivo blockade of Cx43 HCs did not affect the locomotor activity or spatial working memory in a spontaneous alternation Y maze task. Cx43 blockade did however significantly impair the spatial short-term memory in a delayed spontaneous alternation Y maze task. These results indicate that Cx43 HCs play a role in spatial short-term memory. PMID:28066184
Curci, Antonietta; Lanciano, Tiziana; Soleti, Emanuela; Rimé, Bernard
Following an emotional experience, individuals are confronted with the persistence of ruminative thoughts that disturb the undertaking of other activities. In the present study, we experimentally tested the idea that experiencing a negative emotion triggers a ruminative process that drains working memory (WM) resources normally devoted to other tasks. Undergraduate participants of high versus low WM capacity were administered the operation-word memory span test (OSPAN) as a measure of availability of WM resources preceding and following the presentation of negative emotional versus neutral material. Rumination was assessed immediately after the second OSPAN session and at a 24-hr delay. Results showed that both the individual's WM capacity and the emotional valence of the material influenced WM performance and the persistence of ruminative thoughts. Following the experimental induction, rumination mediated the relationship between the negative emotional state and the concomitant WM performance. Based on these results, we argue that ruminative processes deplete WM resources, making them less available for concurrent tasks; in addition, rumination tends to persist over time. These findings have implications for the theoretical modeling of the long-term effects of emotions in both daily life and clinical contexts.
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…
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.
Maran, Thomas; Sachse, Pierre; Furtner, Marco
Previous findings suggest that visual working memory (VWM) preferentially remembers angry looking faces. However, the meaning of facial actions is construed in relation to context. To date, there are no studies investigating the role of perceiver-based context when processing emotional cues in VWM. To explore the influence of affective context on VWM for faces, we conducted two experiments using both a VWM task for emotionally expressive faces and a mood induction procedure. Affective context was manipulated by unpleasant (Experiment 1) and pleasant (Experiment 2) IAPS pictures in order to induce an affect high in motivational intensity (defensive or appetitive, respectively) compared to a low arousal control condition. Results indicated specifically increased sensitivity of VWM for angry looking faces in the neutral condition. Enhanced VWM for angry faces was prevented by inducing affects of high motivational intensity. In both experiments, affective states led to a switch from specific enhancement of angry expressions in VWM to an equally sensitive representation of all emotional expressions. Our findings demonstrate that emotional expressions are of different behavioral relevance for the receiver depending on the affective context, supporting a functional organization of VWM along with flexible resource allocation. In VWM, stimulus processing adjusts to situational requirements and transitions from a specifically prioritizing default mode in predictable environments to a sensitive, hypervigilant mode in exposure to emotional events. PMID:26379609
van Lamsweerde, Amanda E; Beck, Melissa R
In this study, we investigated whether the ability to learn probability information is affected by the type of representation held in visual working memory. Across 4 experiments, participants detected changes to displays of coloured shapes. While participants detected changes in 1 dimension (e.g., colour), a feature from a second, nonchanging dimension (e.g., shape) predicted which object was most likely to change. In Experiments 1 and 3, items could be grouped by similarity in the changing dimension across items (e.g., colours and shapes were repeated in the display), while in Experiments 2 and 4 items could not be grouped by similarity (all features were unique). Probability information from the predictive dimension was learned and used to increase performance, but only when all of the features within a display were unique (Experiments 2 and 4). When it was possible to group by feature similarity in the changing dimension (e.g., 2 blue objects appeared within an array), participants were unable to learn probability information and use it to improve performance (Experiments 1 and 3). The results suggest that probability information can be learned in a dimension that is not explicitly task-relevant, but only when the probability information is represented with the changing dimension in visual working memory.
Watanabe, Masataka; Hikosaka, Kazuo; Sakagami, Masamichi; Shirakawa, Shu-ichiro
Primate prefrontal delay neurons are involved in retaining task-relevant cognitive information in working memory (WM). Recent studies have also revealed primate prefrontal delay neurons that are related to reward/omission-of-reward expectancy. Such reward-related delay activities might constitute "affective WM" (Davidson, 2002). "Affective" and "cognitive" WM are both concerned with representing not what is currently being presented, but rather what was presented previously or might be presented in the future. However, according to the original and widely accepted definition, WM is the "temporary storage and manipulation of information for complex cognitive tasks". Reward/omission-of-reward expectancy-related neuronal activity is neither prerequisite nor essential for accurate task performance; thus, such activity is not considered to comprise the neural substrates of WM. Also, "affective WM" might not be an appropriate usage of the term "WM". We propose that WM- and reward/omission-of-reward expectancy-related neuronal activity are concerned with representing which response should be performed in order to attain a goal (reward) and the goal of the response, respectively. We further suggest that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a crucial role in the integration of cognitive (for example, WM-related) and motivational (for example, reward expectancy-related) operations for goal-directed behaviour. The PFC could then send this integrated information to other brain areas to control the behaviour.
Andreotti, Charissa; Thigpen, Jennifer E; Dunn, Madeleine J; Watson, Kelly; Potts, Jennifer; Reising, Michelle M; Robinson, Kristen E; Rodriguez, Erin M; Roubinov, Danielle; Luecken, Linda; Compas, Bruce E
The current study examined the relations of measures of cognitive reappraisal and secondary control coping with working memory abilities, positive and negative affect, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in young adults (N=124). Results indicate significant relations between working memory abilities and reports of secondary control coping and between reports of secondary control coping and cognitive reappraisal. Associations were also found between measures of secondary control coping and cognitive reappraisal and positive and negative affect and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Further, the findings suggest that reports of cognitive reappraisal may be more strongly predictive of positive affect whereas secondary control coping may be more strongly predictive of negative affect and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Overall, the results suggest that current measures of secondary control coping and cognitive reappraisal capture related but distinct constructs and suggest that the assessment of working memory may be more strongly related to secondary control coping in predicting individual differences in distress.
Storm, Benjamin C; Bui, Dung C
Retrieving a subset of items from memory can cause forgetting of other items in memory, a phenomenon referred to as retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). Individuals who exhibit greater amounts of RIF have been shown to also exhibit superior working memory capacity (WMC) and faster stop-signal reaction times (SSRTs), results which have been interpreted as suggesting that RIF reflects an inhibitory process that is mediated by the processes of executive control. Across four experiments, we sought to further elucidate this issue by manipulating the way in which participants retrieved items during retrieval practice and examining how the resulting effects of forgetting correlated with WMC (Experiments 1-3) and SSRT (Experiment 4). Significant correlations were observed when participants retrieved items from an earlier study phase (within-list retrieval practice), but not when participants generated items from semantic memory (extra-list retrieval practice). These results provide important new insight into the role of executive-control processes in RIF.
Perlstein, William M; Elbert, Thomas; Stenger, V Andrew
Although neural activity associated with emotion is becoming better understood, the influence of affective parameters on brain activity reflecting cognitive functioning in humans remains poorly characterized. We examined affective influences on working memory (WM) and tested the hypotheses that (i) dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activity reflecting WM is influenced by the emotion-evoking qualities of task-relevant stimuli, but only when brought "on-line" by task demands, and (ii) DLPFC and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activities are inversely related as a function of emotional valence. Participants performed two tasks while event-related functional MRI measured brain activity; one task required active maintenance of stimulus representations in WM, and the other task required target detection responses with no demand for WM. Stimuli were standardized emotional (pleasant and unpleasant) and neutral pictures. Emotional stimuli differentially influenced DPFC and OFC activity during WM; DLPFC was influenced by emotional valence, enhanced by pleasant and reduced by unpleasant, compared to neutral stimuli, only when task conditions required WM. OFC was valence-sensitive during both tasks, greater to arousing than neutral stimuli when WM demand was low and in inverse relationship to DLPFC with high WM demand. Further, DLPFC and OFC activities are inversely related with respect to emotional valence during the WM task. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the intrinsic valence of task-relevant stimuli maintained in WM modulates DLPFC activity but only when the DLPFC is required for task demands. Findings suggest a conceptualization of DLPFC and its involvement in WM that takes into account a role for affective parameters.
He, Xu; Zhang, Weiwei; Li, Cuihong; Guo, Chunyan
There has been a debate about whether allocation of visual working memory (VWM) capacity was flexible. One of the key points about this issue is whether complexity has an effect on the capacity, and one of the critical features of complex objects is higher requirements on the encoding precision than simple objects. Thus we investigated the influence of precision requirements on the allocation of VWM capacity resources, by comparing VWM capacity under different levels of sample-test similarity in a change-detection task. If the VWM capacity is limited by a fixed number of items, then the capacity should not be affected by precision requirements; however, if the capacity is allocated flexibly, then precision requirements should influence the capacity. Cowan's K and amplitude of contralateral delay activity (CDA) were used as behavioral and neurophysiological measures of VWM capacity, respectively. Cowan's K for high-precision discrimination was calculated on the basis of the accuracy of a small number of large-change trials inserted into high-precision blocks. This approach avoided the confounder of different test-phase difficulties between the low- and high-precision conditions and controlled for errors during the test phase. The results showed no effect of precision requirements on VWM capacity. However, analysis of the late positive component (LPC) amplitude indicated that higher precision requirements indeed caused more top-down control over VWM retention. These results support the hypothesis that VWM is limited by a fixed number of items.
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…
Camalier, Corrie R; Wang, Alice Y; McIntosh, Lindsey G; Park, Sohee; Neimat, Joseph S
Computational and theoretical accounts hypothesize the basal ganglia play a supramodal "gating" role in the maintenance of working memory representations, especially in preservation from distractor interference. There are currently two major limitations to this account. The first is that supporting experiments have focused exclusively on the visuospatial domain, leaving questions as to whether such "gating" is domain-specific. The second is that current evidence relies on correlational measures, as it is extremely difficult to causally and reversibly manipulate subcortical structures in humans. To address these shortcomings, we examined non-spatial, auditory working memory performance during reversible modulation of the basal ganglia, an approach afforded by deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus. We found that subthalamic nucleus stimulation impaired auditory working memory performance, specifically in the group tested in the presence of distractors, even though the distractors were predictable and completely irrelevant to the encoding of the task stimuli. This study provides key causal evidence that the basal ganglia act as a supramodal filter in working memory processes, further adding to our growing understanding of their role in cognition.
Riemer, Thomas G.; Schulte, Stefanie; Onken, Johanna; Heinz, Andreas; Rapp, Michael A.
Objectives. Recent work suggests that a genetic variation associated with increased dopamine metabolism in the prefrontal cortex (catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met; COMT) amplifies age-related changes in working memory performance. Research on younger adults indicates that the influence of dopamine-related genetic polymorphisms on working memory performance increases when testing the cognitive limits through training. To date, this has not been studied in older adults. Method. Here we investigate the effect of COMT genotype on plasticity in working memory in a sample of 14 younger (aged 24–30 years) and 25 older (aged 60–75 years) healthy adults. Participants underwent adaptive training in the n-back working memory task over 12 sessions under increasing difficulty conditions. Results. Both younger and older adults exhibited sizeable behavioral plasticity through training (P < .001), which was larger in younger as compared to older adults (P < .001). Age-related differences were qualified by an interaction with COMT genotype (P < .001), and this interaction was due to decreased behavioral plasticity in older adults carrying the Val/Val genotype, while there was no effect of genotype in younger adults. Discussion. Our findings indicate that age-related changes in plasticity in working memory are critically affected by genetic variation in prefrontal dopamine metabolism. PMID:24772423
Kline, Julia E.; Poggensee, Katherine; Ferris, Daniel P.
When humans walk in everyday life, they typically perform a range of cognitive tasks while they are on the move. Past studies examining performance changes in dual cognitive-motor tasks during walking have produced a variety of results. These discrepancies may be related to the type of cognitive task chosen, differences in the walking speeds studied, or lack of controlling for walking speed. The goal of this study was to determine how young, healthy subjects performed a spatial working memory task over a range of walking speeds. We used high-density electroencephalography to determine if electrocortical activity mirrored changes in cognitive performance across speeds. Subjects stood (0.0 m/s) and walked (0.4, 0.8, 1.2, and 1.6 m/s) with and without performing a Brooks spatial working memory task. We hypothesized that performance of the spatial working memory task and the associated electrocortical activity would decrease significantly with walking speed. Across speeds, the spatial working memory task caused subjects to step more widely compared with walking without the task. This is typically a sign that humans are adapting their gait dynamics to increase gait stability. Several cortical areas exhibited power fluctuations time-locked to memory encoding during the cognitive task. In the somatosensory association cortex, alpha power increased prior to stimulus presentation and decreased during memory encoding. There were small significant reductions in theta power in the right superior parietal lobule and the posterior cingulate cortex around memory encoding. However, the subjects did not show a significant change in cognitive task performance or electrocortical activity with walking speed. These findings indicate that in young, healthy subjects walking speed does not affect performance of a spatial working memory task. These subjects can devote adequate cortical resources to spatial cognition when needed, regardless of walking speed. PMID:24847239
Fukushima, Kikuro; Barnes, Graham R; Ito, Norie; Olley, Peter M; Warabi, Tateo
Aging affects virtually all functions including sensory/motor and cognitive activities. While retinal image motion is the primary input for smooth-pursuit, its efficiency/accuracy depends on cognitive processes. Elderly subjects exhibit gain decrease during initial and steady-state pursuit, but reports on latencies are conflicting. Using a cue-dependent memory-based smooth-pursuit task, we identified important extra-retinal mechanisms for initial pursuit in young adults including cue information priming and extra-retinal drive components (Ito et al. in Exp Brain Res 229:23-35, 2013). We examined aging effects on parameters for smooth-pursuit using the same tasks. Elderly subjects were tested during three task conditions as previously described: memory-based pursuit, simple ramp-pursuit just to follow motion of a single spot, and popping-out of the correct spot during memory-based pursuit to enhance retinal image motion. Simple ramp-pursuit was used as a task that did not require visual motion working memory. To clarify aging effects, we then compared the results with the previous young subject data. During memory-based pursuit, elderly subjects exhibited normal working memory of cue information. Most movement-parameters including pursuit latencies differed significantly between memory-based pursuit and simple ramp-pursuit and also between young and elderly subjects. Popping-out of the correct spot motion was ineffective for enhancing initial pursuit in elderly subjects. However, the latency difference between memory-based pursuit and simple ramp-pursuit in individual subjects, which includes decision-making delay in the memory task, was similar between the two groups. Our results suggest that smooth-pursuit latencies depend on task conditions and that, although the extra-retinal mechanisms were functional for initial pursuit in elderly subjects, they were less effective.
Klados, Manousos A.; Simos, Panagiotis; Micheloyannis, Sifis; Margulies, Daniel; Bamidis, Panagiotis D.
There have been several attempts to account for the impact of Mathematical Anxiety (MA) on brain activity with variable results. The present study examines the effects of MA on ERP amplitude during performance of simple arithmetic calculations and working memory tasks. Data were obtained from 32 university students as they solved four types of arithmetic problems (one- and two-digit addition and multiplication) and a working memory task comprised of three levels of difficulty (1, 2, and 3-back task). Compared to the Low-MA group, High-MA individuals demonstrated reduced ERP amplitude at frontocentral (between 180–320 ms) and centroparietal locations (between 380–420 ms). These effects were independent of task difficulty/complexity, individual performance, and general state/trait anxiety levels. Results support the hypothesis that higher levels of self-reported MA are associated with lower cortical activation during the early stages of the processing of numeric stimuli in the context of cognitive tasks. PMID:26578912
Mikels, Joseph A.; Larkin, Gregory R.; Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia A.; Carstensen, Laura L.
Working memory mediates the short-term maintenance of information. Virtually all empirical research on working memory involves investigations of working memory for verbal and visual information. Whereas aging is typically associated with a deficit in working memory for these types of information, recent findings suggestive of relatively well-preserved long-term memory for emotional information in older adults raise questions about working memory for emotional material. This study examined age differences in working memory for emotional versus visual information. Findings demonstrate that, despite an age-related deficit for the latter, working memory for emotion was unimpaired. Further, older adults exhibited superior performance on positive relative to negative emotion trials, whereas their younger counterparts exhibited the opposite pattern. PMID:16420130
Li, Chengjun; Gong, Hui; Zeng, Shaoqun; Luo, Qingming
Working memory (WM) refers to the temporary maintenance of information that is no longer accessible in the environment, and the manipulation of this information for subsequent use. PET and functional MRI studies suggest that prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved in WM. Here, we report a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) study on the PFC activation caused by a WM task, a verbal n-back task. During performance of the task, concentration changes of oxy-Hb (HbO2), deoxy-Hb (Hb), and total-Hb (HbT) in subjects" prefrontal cortex were monitored by a 24-channel functional NIRS imager. The behavioral performances (accuracy and response time) were recorded simultaneously. Results revealed that as memory load increased, subjects showed poorer behavioral performance as well as monotonously increasing magnitudes of the activations in the left ventrolateral PFC (VLPFC) and bilateral dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC). In addition, the analysis of comparison between subjects showed that certain relations likely exist between the cerebral activation and the performance parameters for an individual subject: lower accuracy is accompanied by longer response time and further activation. Such means that the subject with difficulty in solving a problem will demonstrate more significant hemodynamic changes compared with the subject without difficulty in solving the same problem.
YuLeung To, Eric; Abbott, Kathy; Foster, Dale S; Helmer, D'Arcy
Impairments in working memory are typically associated with impairments in other cognitive faculties such as attentional processes and short-term memory. This paper briefly introduces neurofeedback as a treatment modality in general, and, more specifically, we review several of the current modalities successfully used in neurofeedback (NF) for the treatment of working memory deficits. Two case studies are presented to illustrate how neurofeedback is applied in treatment. The development of Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA) and its application in neurofeedback now makes it possible to specifically target deep cortical/subcortical brain structures. Developments in neuroscience concerning neural networks, combined with highly specific yet practical NF technologies, makes neurofeedback of particular interest to neuropsychological practice, including the emergence of specific methodologies for treating very difficult working memory (WM) problems.
Miller, Earl K
This review examines the evidence for a neurobiological explanation of executive functions of working memory. We suggest that executive control stems from information about task rules acquired by mixed selective, adaptive coding, multifunctional neurons in the prefrontal cortex. The output of these neurons dynamically links the cortex-wide networks needed to complete the task. The linking may occur via synchronizing of neural rhythms, which may explain why we have a limited capacity for simultaneous thought.
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Copeland, David E.
Working memory capacity has been suggested as a factor that is involved in long-term memory retrieval, particularly when that retrieval involves a need to overcome some sort of interference (Bunting, Conway, & Heitz, 2004; Cantor & Engle, 1993). Previous work has suggested that working memory is related to the acquisition of information during…
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…
Jarrold, Christopher; Tam, Helen; Baddeley, Alan D.; Harvey, Caroline E.
Two studies that examine whether the forgetting caused by the processing demands of working memory tasks is domain-general or domain-specific are presented. In each, separate groups of adult participants were asked to carry out either verbal or nonverbal operations on exactly the same processing materials while maintaining verbal storage items.…
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
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
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
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.
Rhodes, Rebecca E; Katz, Benjamin
The present research explores how the trajectory of learning on a working memory task changes throughout the life span, and whether gains in working memory performance are exclusively a question of initial working memory capacity (WMC) or whether age exerts an independent effect. In a large, cross-sectional study of younger, middle-aged, and older adults, we examined learning on a widely used working memory task-the dual n-back task-over 20 sessions of practice. We found that, while all age groups improved on the task, older adults demonstrated less improvement on the task, and also reached a lower asymptotic maximum performance than younger adults. After controlling for initial WMC, we found that age exerted independent effects on training gains and asymptotic performance; older adults tended to improve less and reached lower levels of performance than younger adults. The difference between younger and older adults' rates of learning depended in part on initial WMC. These results suggest that age-related effects on working memory include not only effects on capacity, but also plasticity and the ability to improve on a task. (PsycINFO Database Record
Shelton, Jill Talley; Elliott, Emily M.; Matthews, Russell A.; Hill, B. D.; Gouvier, Wm. Drew
Recent efforts have been made to elucidate the commonly observed link between working memory and reasoning ability. The results have been inconsistent, with some work suggesting that the emphasis placed on retrieval from secondary memory by working memory tests is the driving force behind this association (Mogle, Lovett, Stawski, & Sliwinski,…
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
Suzuki, Go; Harper, Kathryn M; Hiramoto, Takeshi; Funke, Birgit; Lee, MoonSook; Kang, Gina; Buell, Mahalah; Geyer, Mark A; Kucherlapati, Raju; Morrow, Bernice; Männistö, Pekka T; Agatsuma, Soh; Hiroi, Noboru
Duplication of human chromosome 22q11.2 is associated with elevated rates of mental retardation, autism and many other behavioral phenotypes. However, because duplications cover 1.5-6 Mb, the precise manner in which segments of 22q11.2 causally affect behavior is not known in humans. We have now determined the developmental impact of over-expression of an approximately 190 kb segment of human 22q11.2, which includes the genes TXNRD2, COMT and ARVCF, on behaviors in bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic (TG) mice. BAC TG mice and wild-type (WT) mice were tested for their cognitive capacities, affect- and stress-related behaviors and motor activity at 1 and 2 months of age. An enzymatic assay determined the impact of BAC over-expression on the activity level of COMT. BAC TG mice approached a rewarded goal faster (i.e. incentive learning), but were impaired in delayed rewarded alternation during development. In contrast, BAC TG and WT mice were indistinguishable in rewarded alternation without delays, spontaneous alternation, prepulse inhibition, social interaction, anxiety-, stress- and fear-related behaviors and motor activity. Compared with WT mice, BAC TG mice had an approximately 2-fold higher level of COMT activity in the prefrontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus. These data suggest that over-expression of this 22q11.2 segment enhances incentive learning and impairs the prolonged maintenance of working memory, but has no apparent effect on working memory per se, affect- and stress-related behaviors or motor capacity. High copy numbers of this 22q11.2 segment might contribute to a highly selective set of phenotypes in learning and cognition during development.
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…
Wright, Daniel B; Villalba, Daniella K
After controlling for initial confidence, inaccurate memories were shown to be more easily distorted than accurate memories. In two experiments groups of participants viewed 50 stimuli and were then presented with these stimuli plus 50 fillers. During this test phase participants reported their confidence that each stimulus was originally shown. This was followed by computer-generated responses from a bogus participant. After being exposed to this response participants again rated the confidence of their memory. The computer-generated responses systematically distorted participants' responses. Memory distortion depended on initial memory confidence, with uncertain memories being more malleable than confident memories. This effect was moderated by whether the participant's memory was initially accurate or inaccurate. Inaccurate memories were more malleable than accurate memories. The data were consistent with a model describing two types of memory (i.e., recollective and non-recollective memories), which differ in how susceptible these memories are to memory distortion.
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.
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.
Braren, Stephen H.; Drapala, Damian; Tulloch, Ingrid K.; Serrano, Peter A.
Methamphetamine (MA) is a toxic, addictive drug shown to modulate learning and memory, yet the neural mechanisms are not fully understood. We investigated the effects of 2 weekly injections of MA (30 mg/kg) on working memory using the radial 8-arm maze (RAM) across 5 weeks in adolescent-age mice. MA-treated mice show a significant improvement in working memory performance 1 week following the first MA injection compared to saline-injected controls. Following 5 weeks of MA abstinence mice were re-trained on a reference and working memory version of the RAM to assess cognitive flexibility. MA-treated mice show significantly more working memory errors without effects on reference memory performance. The hippocampus and dorsal striatum were assessed for expression of glutamate receptors subunits, GluA2 and GluN2B; dopamine markers, dopamine 1 receptor (D1), dopamine transporter (DAT) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH); and memory markers, protein kinase M zeta (PKMζ) and protein kinase C zeta (PKCζ). Within the hippocampus, PKMζ and GluA2 are both significantly reduced after MA supporting the poor memory performance. Additionally, a significant increase in GluN2B and decrease in D1 identifies dysregulated synaptic function. In the striatum, MA treatment increased cytosolic DAT and TH levels associated with dopamine hyperfunction. MA treatment significantly reduced GluN2B while increasing both PKMζ and PKCζ within the striatum. We discuss the potential role of PKMζ/PKCζ in modulating dopamine and glutamate receptors after MA treatment. These results identify potential underlying mechanisms for working memory deficits induced by MA. PMID:25566006
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.
Bisby, James A.; Burgess, Neil
The formation of associations between items and their context has been proposed to rely on mechanisms distinct from those supporting memory for a single item. Although emotional experiences can profoundly affect memory, our understanding of how it interacts with different aspects of memory remains unclear. We performed three experiments to examine…
Borella, Erika; Carretti, Barbara; Grassi, Massimo; Nucci, Massimo; Sciore, Roberta
There are evidences showing that music can affect cognitive performance by improving our emotional state. The aim of the current study was to analyze whether age-related differences between young and older adults in a Working Memory (WM) Span test in which the stimuli to be recalled have a different valence (i.e., neutral, positive, or negative words), are sensitive to exposure to music. Because some previous studies showed that emotional words can sustain older adults' performance in WM, we examined whether listening to music could enhance the benefit of emotional material, with respect to neutral words, on WM performance decreasing the age-related difference between younger and older adults. In particular, the effect of two types of music (Mozart vs. Albinoni), which differ in tempo, arousal and mood induction, on age-related differences in an affective version of the Operation WM Span task was analyzed. Results showed no effect of music on the WM test regardless of the emotional content of the music (Mozart vs. Albinoni). However, a valence effect for the words in the WM task was found with a higher number of negative words recalled with respect to positive and neutral ones in both younger and older adults. When individual differences in terms of accuracy in the processing phase of the Operation Span task were considered, only younger low-performing participants were affected by the type music, with the Albinoni condition that lowered their performance with respect to the Mozart condition. Such a result suggests that individual differences in WM performance, at least when young adults are considered, could be affected by the type of music. Altogether, these findings suggest that complex span tasks, such as WM tasks, along with age-related differences are not sensitive to music effects.
Borella, Erika; Carretti, Barbara; Grassi, Massimo; Nucci, Massimo; Sciore, Roberta
There are evidences showing that music can affect cognitive performance by improving our emotional state. The aim of the current study was to analyze whether age-related differences between young and older adults in a Working Memory (WM) Span test in which the stimuli to be recalled have a different valence (i.e., neutral, positive, or negative words), are sensitive to exposure to music. Because some previous studies showed that emotional words can sustain older adults’ performance in WM, we examined whether listening to music could enhance the benefit of emotional material, with respect to neutral words, on WM performance decreasing the age-related difference between younger and older adults. In particular, the effect of two types of music (Mozart vs. Albinoni), which differ in tempo, arousal and mood induction, on age-related differences in an affective version of the Operation WM Span task was analyzed. Results showed no effect of music on the WM test regardless of the emotional content of the music (Mozart vs. Albinoni). However, a valence effect for the words in the WM task was found with a higher number of negative words recalled with respect to positive and neutral ones in both younger and older adults. When individual differences in terms of accuracy in the processing phase of the Operation Span task were considered, only younger low-performing participants were affected by the type music, with the Albinoni condition that lowered their performance with respect to the Mozart condition. Such a result suggests that individual differences in WM performance, at least when young adults are considered, could be affected by the type of music. Altogether, these findings suggest that complex span tasks, such as WM tasks, along with age-related differences are not sensitive to music effects. PMID:25426064
West, Robert; Bowry, Ritvij
The current study used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine the effects of aging, increasing the working memory demands of the ongoing activity, and a prospective memory load on the neural correlates of prospective remembering and target recognition. The behavioral data revealed that the success of prospective memory was sensitive to working memory load in younger, but not older, adults and that a prospective memory load had a greater effect on the performance of older adults than that of younger adults. The ERP data revealed age-related differences in the neural correlates of the detection of prospective cues, post-retrieval processes that support prospective memory, and target recognition. Our results support the hypothesis that there are age-related differences in the ability to recruit preparatory attentional processes that underlie prospective memory, and demonstrate that younger and older adults may recruit somewhat different neural generators to support prospective memory and working memory.
Steele, Shelly D.; Minshew, Nancy J.; Luna, Beatriz; Sweeney, John A.
Previous studies have reported working memory deficits in autism, but this finding has been inconsistent. One possibility is that deficits in this domain may be present only when working memory load exceeds some limited capacity. High-functioning individuals with autism performed the CANTAB computerized test of spatial working memory. Individuals…
Szmalec, Arnaud; Verbruggen, Frederick; Vandierendonck, Andre; Kemps, Eva
The current study examined the nature of the processes underlying working memory updating. In 4 experiments using the n-back paradigm, the authors demonstrate that continuous updating of items in working memory prevents strong binding of those items to their contexts in working memory, and hence leads to an increased susceptibility to proactive…
Espina-Marchant, Pablo; Pinto-Hamuy, Teresa; Bustamante, Diego; Morales, Paola; Robles, Luis; Herrera-Marschitz, Mario
Place memory is relevant for exploration and forage behaviour. When food supply is dispersed, a win-shift has advantage over a win-stay strategy. In the Olton Octagonal Maze, the rat follows a win-shift strategy using working memory. However, in the Olton 4x4 version, the rat follows a win-stay strategy, using both working and long-term memories. It has been suggested that the neocortex is required for the resolution of tasks demanding long-term, but not for that demanding working memory alone. The role of anteromedial/posterior parietal cortex (AM/PPC) was investigated here, using a reversible lesion induced by intracerebral lidocaine infusion. Long-Evans rats were implanted with guide cannulae into the AM/PPC and trained in an Olton 4x4 maze, counting working and long-term memory errors after a delay. Then, the animals were infused with lidocaine or saline during the delay phase and tested for three days. Another series of animals, treated as before, was tested in an Olton Octagonal Maze and subjected to the same injection schedule. In the Olton 4x4 Maze, lidocaine produced a significant increase in working and long-term memory errors, compared to saline and post-lidocaine conditions. In contrast, in the Olton Octagonal Maze, lidocaine did not induce any effect on working memory errors. Thus, AM/PPC is required when both working with previous information and long-term memories are needed, but not when only working memory is required, as it happens under ethological conditions. Whenever food supply is dispersed, a win-shift strategy is preferable.
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
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
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.
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
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
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,…
Bisby, James A; Burgess, Neil
The formation of associations between items and their context has been proposed to rely on mechanisms distinct from those supporting memory for a single item. Although emotional experiences can profoundly affect memory, our understanding of how it interacts with different aspects of memory remains unclear. We performed three experiments to examine the effects of emotion on memory for items and their associations. By presenting neutral and negative items with background contexts, Experiment 1 demonstrated that item memory was facilitated by emotional affect, whereas memory for an associated context was reduced. In Experiment 2, arousal was manipulated independently of the memoranda, by a threat of shock, whereby encoding trials occurred under conditions of threat or safety. Memory for context was equally impaired by the presence of negative affect, whether induced by threat of shock or a negative item, relative to retrieval of the context of a neutral item in safety. In Experiment 3, participants were presented with neutral and negative items as paired associates, including all combinations of neutral and negative items. The results showed both above effects: compared to a neutral item, memory for the associate of a negative item (a second item here, context in Experiments 1 and 2) is impaired, whereas retrieval of the item itself is enhanced. Our findings suggest that negative affect impairs associative memory while recognition of a negative item is enhanced. They support dual-processing models in which negative affect or stress impairs hippocampal-dependent associative memory while the storage of negative sensory/perceptual representations is spared or even strengthened.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fairfield, Beth; Altamura, Mario; Padalino, Flavia A.; Balzotti, Angela; Di Domenico, Alberto; Mammarella, Nicola
Studies have shown a direct link between memory for emotionally salient experiences and false memories. In particular, emotionally arousing material of negative and positive valence enhanced reality monitoring compared to neutral material since emotional stimuli can be encoded with more contextual details and thereby facilitate the distinction between presented and imagined stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia appear to be impaired in both reality monitoring and memory for emotional experiences. However, the relationship between the emotionality of the to-be-remembered material and false memory occurrence has not yet been studied. In this study, 24 patients and 24 healthy adults completed a false memory task with everyday episodes composed of 12 photographs that depicted positive, negative, or neutral outcomes. Results showed how patients with schizophrenia made a higher number of false memories than normal controls (p < 0.05) when remembering episodes with positive or negative outcomes. The effect of valence was apparent in the patient group. For example, it did not affect the production causal false memories (p > 0.05) resulting from erroneous inferences but did interact with plausible, script consistent errors in patients (i.e., neutral episodes yielded a higher degree of errors than positive and negative episodes). Affective information reduces the probability of generating causal errors in healthy adults but not in patients suggesting that emotional memory impairments may contribute to deficits in reality monitoring in schizophrenia when affective information is involved. PMID:27965600
Fairfield, Beth; Altamura, Mario; Padalino, Flavia A; Balzotti, Angela; Di Domenico, Alberto; Mammarella, Nicola
Studies have shown a direct link between memory for emotionally salient experiences and false memories. In particular, emotionally arousing material of negative and positive valence enhanced reality monitoring compared to neutral material since emotional stimuli can be encoded with more contextual details and thereby facilitate the distinction between presented and imagined stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia appear to be impaired in both reality monitoring and memory for emotional experiences. However, the relationship between the emotionality of the to-be-remembered material and false memory occurrence has not yet been studied. In this study, 24 patients and 24 healthy adults completed a false memory task with everyday episodes composed of 12 photographs that depicted positive, negative, or neutral outcomes. Results showed how patients with schizophrenia made a higher number of false memories than normal controls (p < 0.05) when remembering episodes with positive or negative outcomes. The effect of valence was apparent in the patient group. For example, it did not affect the production causal false memories (p > 0.05) resulting from erroneous inferences but did interact with plausible, script consistent errors in patients (i.e., neutral episodes yielded a higher degree of errors than positive and negative episodes). Affective information reduces the probability of generating causal errors in healthy adults but not in patients suggesting that emotional memory impairments may contribute to deficits in reality monitoring in schizophrenia when affective information is involved.
Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Willis, Catherine; Adams, Anne-Marie
This study investigated associations between working memory (measured by complex memory tasks) and both reading and mathematics abilities, as well as the possible mediating factors of fluid intelligence, verbal abilities, short-term memory (STM), and phonological awareness, in a sample of 46 6- to 11-year-olds with reading disabilities. As a…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Rajendran, Gnanathusharan; Archibald, Lisa M. D.
The aim of the present study was to directly compare working memory skills across students with different developmental disorders to investigate whether the uniqueness of their diagnosis would impact memory skills. The authors report findings confirming differential memory profiles on the basis of the following developmental disorders: Specific…
a % - AV ~ ~ 2 a . a’* - Working memory capacity -54- Experiment 5 Some researchers (e.g, Klapp , et al. (1983) and Brainerd and Kingma (1984, 1985...Psychological Review. 85,363-394. Klapp , S. T., Marshbum, E. A & Lester, P. T. (1983). Short term memory does not Involve the ’Worklng memory,* of
Oberauer, Klaus; Lange, Elke; Engle, Randall W.
Single-task and dual-task versions of verbal and spatial serial order memory tasks were administered to 120 students tested for working memory capacity with four previously validated measures. In the dual-task versions, similarity between the memory material and the material of the secondary processing task was varied. With verbal material, three…
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.
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…
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.
Henry, Lucy A.; Botting, Nicola
Children with developmental language impairments (DLI) are often reported to show difficulties with working memory. This review describes the four components of the well-established working memory model, and considers whether there is convincing evidence for difficulties within each component in children with DLI. The emphasis is on the most…
Rasmussen, C.; Bisanz, J.
Working memory has been implicated in the early acquisition of arithmetic skill, but the relations among different components of working memory, performance on different types of arithmetic problems, and development have not been explored. Preschool and Grade 1 children completed measures of phonological, visual-spatial, and central executive…
Liefooghe, Baptist; Barrouillet, Pierre; Vandierendonck, Andre; Camos, Valerie
Although many accounts of task switching emphasize the importance of working memory as a substantial source of the switch cost, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating that task switching actually places additional demands on working memory. The present study addressed this issue by implementing task switching in continuous complex span tasks…
Perry, Tracy L.; Malaia, Evguenia
For any complex mental task, people rely on working memory. Working memory capacity (WMC) is one predictor of success in learning. Historically, attempts to improve verbal WM through training have not been effective. This study provided elementary students with WM consolidation efficiency training to answer the question, Can reading comprehension…
Takeuchi, Hikaru; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Taki, Yasuyuki; Yokoyama, Satoru; Yomogida, Yukihito; Komuro, Nozomi; Yamanouchi, Tohru; Suzuki, Shozo; Kawashima, Ryuta
Working memory is the limited capacity storage system involved in the maintenance and manipulation of information over short periods of time. Individual capacity of working memory is associated with the integrity of white matter in the frontoparietal regions. It is unknown to what extent the integrity of white matter underlying the working memory system is plastic. Using voxel-based analysis (VBA) of fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of fiber tracts, we investigated the effect of working memory training on structural connectivity in an interventional study. The amount of working memory training correlated with increased FA in the white matter regions adjacent to the intraparietal sulcus and the anterior part of the body of the corpus callosum after training. These results showed training-induced plasticity in regions that are thought to be critical in working memory. As changes in myelination lead to FA changes in diffusion tensor imaging, a possible mechanism for the observed FA change is increased myelination after training. Observed structural changes may underlie previously reported improvement of working memory capacity, improvement of other cognitive functions, and altered functional activity following working memory training.
Jansson, Maria; Wendt, Maria; Ase, Cecilia
In this article, we present the results of a research project where we have tried to elaborate more socially inclusive ways of teaching and learning political science by making use of a specific feminist method of analyzing social relations--memory work. As a method, memory work involves writing and interpreting stories of personal experience,…
St. Clair-Thompson, Helen L.
Previous research has suggested that working memory difficulties play an integral role in children's underachievement at school. However, working memory is just one of several executive functions. The extent to which problems in working memory extend to other executive functions is not well understood. In the current study 38 children with a poor…
Kieffer, Tom E C; Faas, Marijke M; Scherjon, Sicco A; Prins, Jelmer R
Pregnancy is an immune challenge to the maternal immune system. The effects of pregnancy on maternal immunity and particularly on memory T cells during and after pregnancy are not fully known. This observational study aims to show the short term and the long term effects of pregnancy on the constitution, size and activation status of peripheral human memory T-lymphocyte populations. Effector memory (EM) and central memory (CM) T-lymphocytes were analyzed using flow cytometry of peripheral blood from 14 nulligravid, 12 primigravid and 15 parous women that were on average 18 months postpartum. The short term effects were shown by the significantly higher CD4+ EM cell and activated CD4+ memory cell proportions in primigravid women compared to nulligravid women. The persistent effects found in this study were the significantly higher proportions of CD4+ EM, CD4+ CM and activated memory T cells in parous women compared to nulligravid women. In contrast to CD4+ cells, activation status of CD8+ memory cells did not differ between the groups. This study shows that pregnancy persistently affects the pre-pregnancy CD4+ memory cell pool in human peripheral blood. During pregnancy, CD4+ T-lymphocytes might differentiate into EM cells followed by persistent higher proportions of CD4+ CM and EM cells postpartum. The persistent effects of pregnancy on memory T cells found in this study support the hypothesis that memory T cells are generated during pregnancy and that these cells could be involved in the lower complication risks in multiparous pregnancies in humans.
Redick, Thomas S.; Shipstead, Zach; Wiemers, Elizabeth A.; Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Hulme, Charles
Working memory training programs have generated great interest, with claims that the training interventions can have profound beneficial effects on children's academic and intellectual attainment. We describe the criteria by which to evaluate evidence for or against the benefit of working memory training. Despite the promising results of initial…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
Working memory plays a key role in supporting children's learning over the school years, and beyond this into adulthood. It is proposed here that working memory is crucially required to store information while other material is being mentally manipulated during the classroom learning activities that form the foundations for the acquisition of…
Cohen, Henri; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco; Scherzer, Peter
Blind individuals have been shown on multiple occasions to compensate for their loss of sight by developing exceptional abilities in their remaining senses. While most research has been focused on perceptual abilities per se in the auditory and tactile modalities, recent work has also investigated higher-order processes involving memory and language functions. Here we examined tactile working memory for Braille in two groups of visually challenged individuals (completely blind subjects, CBS; blind with residual vision, BRV). In a first experimental procedure both groups were given a Braille tactile memory span task with and without articulatory suppression, while the BRV and a sighted group performed a visual version of the task. It was shown that the Braille tactile working memory (BrWM) of CBS individuals under articulatory suppression is as efficient as that of sighted individuals' visual working memory in the same condition. Moreover, the results suggest that BrWM may be more robust in the CBS than in the BRV subjects, thus pointing to the potential role of visual experience in shaping tactile working memory. A second experiment designed to assess the nature (spatial vs. verbal) of this working memory was then carried out with two new CBS and BRV groups having to perform the Braille task concurrently with a mental arithmetic task or a mental displacement of blocks task. We show that the disruption of memory was greatest when concurrently carrying out the mental displacement of blocks, indicating that the Braille tactile subsystem of working memory is likely spatial in nature in CBS. The results also point to the multimodal nature of working memory and show how experience can shape the development of its subcomponents.
Cohen, Henri; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco; Scherzer, Peter
Blind individuals have been shown on multiple occasions to compensate for their loss of sight by developing exceptional abilities in their remaining senses. While most research has been focused on perceptual abilities per se in the auditory and tactile modalities, recent work has also investigated higher-order processes involving memory and language functions. Here we examined tactile working memory for Braille in two groups of visually challenged individuals (completely blind subjects, CBS; blind with residual vision, BRV). In a first experimental procedure both groups were given a Braille tactile memory span task with and without articulatory suppression, while the BRV and a sighted group performed a visual version of the task. It was shown that the Braille tactile working memory (BrWM) of CBS individuals under articulatory suppression is as efficient as that of sighted individuals' visual working memory in the same condition. Moreover, the results suggest that BrWM may be more robust in the CBS than in the BRV subjects, thus pointing to the potential role of visual experience in shaping tactile working memory. A second experiment designed to assess the nature (spatial vs. verbal) of this working memory was then carried out with two new CBS and BRV groups having to perform the Braille task concurrently with a mental arithmetic task or a mental displacement of blocks task. We show that the disruption of memory was greatest when concurrently carrying out the mental displacement of blocks, indicating that the Braille tactile subsystem of working memory is likely spatial in nature in CBS. The results also point to the multimodal nature of working memory and show how experience can shape the development of its subcomponents. PMID:20520807
Schwarb, Hillary; Nail, Jayde; Schumacher, Eric H
Since antiquity, philosophers, theologians, and scientists have been interested in human memory. However, researchers today are still working to understand the capabilities, boundaries, and architecture. While the storage capabilities of long-term memory are seemingly unlimited (Bahrick, J Exp Psychol 113:1-2, 1984), working memory, or the ability to maintain and manipulate information held in memory, seems to have stringent capacity limits (e.g., Cowan, Behav Brain Sci 24:87-185, 2001). Individual differences, however, do exist and these differences can often predict performance on a wide variety of tasks (cf. Engle What is working-memory capacity? 297-314, 2001). Recently, researchers have promoted the enticing possibility that simple behavioral training can expand the limits of working memory which indeed may also lead to improvements on other cognitive processes as well (cf. Morrison and Chein, Psychol Bull Rev 18:46-60 2011). However, initial investigations across a wide variety of cognitive functions have produced mixed results regarding the transferability of training-related improvements. Across two experiments, the present research focuses on the benefit of working memory training on visual short-term memory capacity-a cognitive process that has received little attention in the training literature. Data reveal training-related improvement of global measures of visual short-term memory as well as of measures of the independent sub-processes that contribute to capacity (Awh et al., Psychol Sci 18(7):622-628, 2007). These results suggest that the ability to inhibit irrelevant information within and between trials is enhanced via n-back training allowing for selective improvement on untrained tasks. Additionally, we highlight a potential limitation of the standard adaptive training procedure and propose a modified design to ensure variability in the training environment.
Ricker, Timothy J.; Cowan, Nelson
Understanding forgetting from working memory, the memory used in ongoing cognitive processing, is critical to understanding human cognition. In the past decade, a number of conflicting findings have been reported regarding the role of time in forgetting from working memory. This has led to a debate concerning whether longer retention intervals…
Oberauer, Klaus; Sub, Heinz-Martin; Wilhelm, Oliver; Wittmann, Werner W.
Investigates the relationship between three factors of working memory (storage and processing, relational integration, and supervision) and four factors of intelligence (reasoning, speed, memory, and creativity) using structural equation models. Relational integration predicted reasoning ability at least as well as the storage-and-processing…
Yuan, Kun; Steedle, Jeffrey; Shavelson, Richard; Alonzo, Alicia; Oppezzo, Marily
A review of the history of working memory (WM) studies finds that the concept of WM evolved from short-term memory to a multi-component system. Comparison between contemporary WM models reveals: (1) consensus that the content of WM includes not only task-relevant information, but also task-irrelevant information; (2) consensus that WM consists of…
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.
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…
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
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Gibson, Bradley S.; McNerney, M. Windy
Research on language comprehension suggests a strong relationship between working memory span measures and language comprehension. However, there is also evidence that this relationship weakens at higher levels of comprehension, such as the situation model level. The current study explored this relationship by comparing 10 grapheme–color synesthetes who have additional color experiences when they read words that begin with different letters and 48 normal controls on a number of tests of complex working memory capacity and processing at the situation model level. On all tests of working memory capacity, the synesthetes outperformed the controls. Importantly, there was no carryover benefitmore » for the synesthetes for processing at the situation model level. This reinforces the idea that although some aspects of language comprehension are related to working memory span scores, this applies less directly to situation model levels. As a result, this suggests that theories of working memory must take into account this limitation, and the working memory processes that are involved in situation model construction and processing must be derived.« less
Radvansky, Gabriel A.; Gibson, Bradley S.; McNerney, M. Windy
Research on language comprehension suggests a strong relationship between working memory span measures and language comprehension. However, there is also evidence that this relationship weakens at higher levels of comprehension, such as the situation model level. The current study explored this relationship by comparing 10 grapheme–color synesthetes who have additional color experiences when they read words that begin with different letters and 48 normal controls on a number of tests of complex working memory capacity and processing at the situation model level. On all tests of working memory capacity, the synesthetes outperformed the controls. Importantly, there was no carryover benefit for the synesthetes for processing at the situation model level. This reinforces the idea that although some aspects of language comprehension are related to working memory span scores, this applies less directly to situation model levels. As a result, this suggests that theories of working memory must take into account this limitation, and the working memory processes that are involved in situation model construction and processing must be derived.
Perciavalle, Valentina; Maci, Tiziana; Perciavalle, Vincenzo; Massimino, Simona; Coco, Marinella
The accumulation of lactate in the blood after a high-intensity exercise is associated with an increase of lactate extractions by the brain. Previously, a negative influence of blood lactate on attentional processes has been observed. The present study was carried out to examine the association of high blood lactate levels, induced with a maximal cycling, with another cognitive domain: working memory. For evaluation of working memory two different protocols were used: the first (Self-Ordered Pointing Task) capable of analyzing non-spatial working memory requiring the ability to generate and monitor a sequence of responses and the second for evaluating motor working memory necessary to perform a motor task. The study was carried out in 30 students (15 males and 15 females) who performed exhaustive exercise. In each subject, blood lactate was measured and motor as well as non-motor forms of working memory were evaluated before the exercise, at its end as well as 15 min after the exhaustion. It was observed that an increase of blood lactate levels is associated with a worsening of both types of working memory.
Koshino, Hideya; Olid, Pilar
The present study investigated interactions between working memory load and perceptual load. The load theory (Lavie, Hirst, de Fockert, & Viding, 2004 ) claims that perceptual load decreases distractor interference, whereas working memory load increases interference. However, recent studies showed that effects of working memory might depend on the relationship between modalities of working memory and task stimuli. Here, we examined whether the relationship between working memory load and perceptual load would remain the same across modalities. The results of Experiment 1 showed that verbal working memory load did not affect a compatibility effect for low perceptual load, whereas it increased the compatibility effect for high perceptual load. In Experiment 2, the compatibility effect remained the same regardless of visual working memory load. These results suggest that the effects of working memory load and perceptual load depend on the relationship between the modalities of working memory and stimuli.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Richey, J Elizabeth; Phillips, Jeffrey S; Schunn, Christian D; Schneider, Walter
Analogical reasoning has been hypothesized to critically depend upon working memory through correlational data, but less work has tested this relationship through experimental manipulation. An opportunity for examining the connection between working memory and analogical reasoning has emerged from the growing, although somewhat controversial, body of literature suggests complex working memory training can sometimes lead to working memory improvements that transfer to novel working memory tasks. This study investigated whether working memory improvements, if replicated, would increase analogical reasoning ability. We assessed participants' performance on verbal and visual analogy tasks after a complex working memory training program incorporating verbal and spatial tasks. Participants' improvements on the working memory training tasks transferred to other short-term and working memory tasks, supporting the possibility of broad effects of working memory training. However, we found no effects on analogical reasoning. We propose several possible explanations for the lack of an impact of working memory improvements on analogical reasoning.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth; Kirkwood, Hannah; Elliott, Julian
The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential of the Working Memory Rating Scale (WMRS), an observer-based rating scale that reflects behavioral difficulties of children with poor working memory. The findings indicate good internal reliability and adequate psychometric properties for use as a screening tool by teachers. Higher…
Barch, Deanna M.; Berman, Marc G.; Engle, Randy; Jones, Jessica Hurdelbrink; Jonides, John; MacDonald, Angus; Nee, Derek Evan; Redick, Thomas S.; Sponheim, Scott R.
The third meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) was focused on selecting promising measures for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of working memory, the 2 constructs of interest were goal maintenance and interference control. CNTRICS received 3 task nominations for each of these constructs, and the breakout group for working memory evaluated the degree to which each of these tasks met prespecified criteria. For goal maintenance, the breakout group for working memory recommended the AX-Continuous Performance Task/Dot Pattern Expectancy task for translation for use in clinical trial contexts in schizophrenia research. For interference control, the breakout group recommended the recent probes and operation/symmetry span tasks for translation for use in clinical trials. This article describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used by the breakout group to recommend tasks for further development. PMID:18990711
Joels, Gil; Lamprecht, Raphael
The formation of fear memory to a specific stimulus leads to subsequent fearful response to that stimulus. However, it is not apparent whether the formation of fear memory can affect other memories. We study whether specific fearful experience leading to fear memory affects different memories formation and extinction. We revealed that cued fear conditioning, but not unpaired or naïve training, inhibited the extinction of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) memory that was formed after fear conditioning training in rats. Fear conditioning had no effect on retrieval of CTA memory but specifically impaired its extinction. Extinguished fear memory, after fear extinction training, had no effect on future CTA memory extinction. Fear conditioning had no effect on CTA memory extinction if CTA memory was formed before fear conditioning. Conditioned taste aversion had no effect on fear conditioning memory extinction. We conclude that active cued fear conditioning memory can affect specifically the extinction, but not the formation, of future different memory. PMID:25324744
Subiaul, Francys; Schilder, Brian
Does working memory (WM) constrain the amount and type of information children copy from a model? To answer this question, preschool-age children (N=165) were trained and then tested on a touch-screen task that involved touching simultaneously presented pictures. Prior to responding, children saw a model generate two target responses: Order (touching all of the pictures on the screen in a target sequence three consecutive times) and Multi-Tap (consistently touching one of the pictures two times). Children's accuracy copying Order and Multi-Tap was assessed on two types of sequences: low WM load (2 pictures) and high WM load (3 pictures). Results showed that more children copied both Order and Multi-Tap on 2-picture sequences than on 3-picture sequences. Children who copied only one of the two target responses tended to copy only Order on 2-picture sequences but only Multi-Tap on 3-picture sequences. Instructions to either copy or ignore the Multi-Tap response did not affect this overall pattern of results. In sum, results are consistent with the hypothesis that WM constrains not just the amount but also the type of information children copy from models, potentially modulating whether children imitate or emulate in a given task.
Trezise, Kelly; Reeve, Robert A
Math anxiety (MA)-working memory (WM) relationships have typically been examined in the context of arithmetic problem solving, and little research has examined the relationship in other math domains (e.g., algebra). Moreover, researchers have tended to examine MA/worry separate from math problem solving activities and have used general WM tasks rather than domain-relevant WM measures. Furthermore, it seems to have been assumed that MA affects all areas of math. It is possible, however, that MA is restricted to particular math domains. To examine these issues, the current research assessed claims about the impact on algebraic problem solving of differences in WM and algebraic worry. A sample of 80 14-year-old female students completed algebraic worry, algebraic WM, algebraic problem solving, nonverbal IQ, and general math ability tasks. Latent profile analysis of worry and WM measures identified four performance profiles (subgroups) that differed in worry level and WM capacity. Consistent with expectations, subgroup membership was associated with algebraic problem solving performance: high WM/low worry>moderate WM/low worry=moderate WM/high worry>low WM/high worry. Findings are discussed in terms of the conceptual relationship between emotion and cognition in mathematics and implications for the MA-WM-performance relationship.
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…
Dudley, R T
56 college students completed Tobacyk's 1988 Revised Paranormal Belief Scale and Watson, Clark, and Tellegen's 1988 Positive and Negative Affect Scale. Experimental group participants, but not control group participants, rehearsed a five-digit number while completing the Paranormal Belief Scale. Analysis showed higher reported paranormal belief for experimental group participants but no differences on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale. Results are discussed in terms of the effect of restriction in working memory on the critical evaluation of paranormal phenomena.
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.
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
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.
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.
Brady, Timothy F.; Tenenbaum, Joshua B.
When remembering a real-world scene, people encode both detailed information about specific objects and higher order information like the overall gist of the scene. However, formal models of change detection, like those used to estimate visual working memory capacity, assume observers encode only a simple memory representation that includes no…
Matzel, Louis D; Kolata, Stefan
Accumulating evidence indicates that the storage and processing capabilities of the human working memory system co-vary with individuals' performance on a wide range of cognitive tasks. The ubiquitous nature of this relationship suggests that variations in these processes may underlie individual differences in intelligence. Here we briefly review relevant data which supports this view. Furthermore, we emphasize an emerging literature describing a trait in genetically heterogeneous mice that is quantitatively and qualitatively analogous to general intelligence (g) in humans. As in humans, this animal analog of g co-varies with individual differences in both storage and processing components of the working memory system. Absent some of the complications associated with work with human subjects (e.g., phonological processing), this work with laboratory animals has provided an opportunity to assess otherwise intractable hypotheses. For instance, it has been possible in animals to manipulate individual aspects of the working memory system (e.g., selective attention), and to observe causal relationships between these variables and the expression of general cognitive abilities. This work with laboratory animals has coincided with human imaging studies (briefly reviewed here) which suggest that common brain structures (e.g., prefrontal cortex) mediate the efficacy of selective attention and the performance of individuals on intelligence test batteries. In total, this evidence suggests an evolutionary conservation of the processes that co-vary with and/or regulate "intelligence" and provides a framework for promoting these abilities in both young and old animals.
Lucidi, Annalisa; Langerock, Naomi; Hoareau, Violette; Lemaire, Benoît; Camos, Valérie; Barrouillet, Pierre
The causal role of verbal rehearsal in working memory has recently been called into question. For example, the SOB-CS (Serial Order in a Box-Complex Span) model assumes that there is no maintenance process for the strengthening of items in working memory, but instead a process of removal of distractors that are involuntarily encoded and create interference with memory items. In the present study, we tested the idea that verbal working memory performance can be accounted for without assuming a causal role of the verbal rehearsal process. We demonstrate in two experiments using a complex span task and a Brown-Peterson paradigm that increasing the number of repetitions of the same distractor (the syllable ba that was read aloud at each of its occurrences on screen) has a detrimental effect on the concurrent maintenance of consonants whereas the maintenance of spatial locations remains unaffected. A detailed analysis of the tasks demonstrates that accounting for this effect within the SOB-CS model requires a series of unwarranted assumptions leading to undesirable further predictions contradicted by available experimental evidence. We argue that the hypothesis of a maintenance mechanism based on verbal rehearsal that is impeded by concurrent articulation still provides the simplest and most compelling account of our results.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; McCallum, Fiona; Alloway, Ross G; Hoicka, Elena
The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of working memory in verbal deception in children. We presented 6- and 7-year-olds with a temptation resistance paradigm; they played a trivia game and were then given an opportunity to peek at the final answers on the back of a card. Measures of both verbal and visuospatial working memory were included. The good liars performed better on the verbal working memory test in both processing and recall compared with the bad liars. However, there was no difference in visuospatial working scores between good liars and bad liars. This pattern suggests that verbal working memory plays a role in processing and manipulating the multiple pieces of information involved in lie-telling.
Brady, Timothy F.; Alvarez, George A.
A central question for models of visual working memory is whether the number of objects people can remember depends on object complexity. Some influential "slot" models of working memory capacity suggest that people always represent 3-4 objects and that only the fidelity with which these objects are represented is affected by object…
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
Storbeck, Justin; Clore, Gerald L
Memory is susceptible to illusions in the form of false memories. Prior research found, however, that sad moods reduce false memories. The current experiment had two goals: (1) to determine whether affect influences retrieval processes, and (2) to determine whether affect influences the strength and the persistence of false memories. Happy or sad moods were induced either before or after learning word lists designed to produce false memories. Control groups did not experience a mood induction. We found that sad moods reduced false memories only when induced before learning. Signal detection analyses confirmed that sad moods induced prior to learning reduced activation of nonpresented critical lures suggesting that they came to mind less often. Affective states, however, did not influence retrieval effects. We conclude that negative affective states promote item-specific processing, which reduces false memories in a similar way as using an explicitly guided cognitive control strategy.
Bradley, V A; Welch, J L; Dick, D J
Visuospatial impairment is frequently reported in Parkinson's disease but the psychological mechanisms which subserve the impaired abilities and the way in which breakdown of the mechanisms leads to performance deficits have not been precisely delineated. This paper reports experimental investigations designed to test the hypothesis that the locus of the impairment is the visuospatial subsystem of working memory. Subjects were a group of sixteen patients with Parkinson's disease of mild to moderate severity and a matched control group. They performed complex visuospatial and verbal memory tasks. The Parkinsonian group were significantly slower than the control group when performing the visuospatial task. They were not significantly slower and made no more errors than the control group on the verbal task. The findings are compatible with the hypothesis that the visuospatial subsystem of working memory is impaired in Parkinson's disease. It is demonstrated that the impairment is not the result of a reduction in the capacity of this subsystem but is due to difficulty in utilising information stored in the subsystem to perform complex visuospatial tasks. PMID:2592967
Chen, Siyi; Müller, Hermann J; Conci, Markus
Amodal completion refers to the perceptual "filling-in" of partly occluded object fragments. Previous work has shown that object completion occurs efficiently, at early perceptual stages of processing. However, despite efficient early completion, at a later stage, the maintenance of complete-object representations in visual working memory (VWM) may be severely restricted due to limited mnemonic resources being available. To examine for such a limitation, we investigated whether the structure of to-be-remembered objects influences what is encoded and maintained in VWM using a change detection paradigm. Participants were presented with a memory display that contained either "composite" objects, that is, notched shapes abutting an occluding square, or equivalent unoccluded, "simple" objects. The results showed overall increased memory performance for simple relative to composite objects. Moreover, evidence for completion in VWM was found for composite objects that were interpreted as globally completed wholes, relative to local completions or an uncompleted mosaic (baseline) condition. This global completion advantage was obtained only when the "context" of simple objects also supported a global object interpretation. Finally, with an increase in memory set size, the global object advantage decreased substantially. These findings indicate that processes of amodal completion influence VWM performance until some overall-capacity limitation prevents completion. VWM completion processes do not operate automatically; rather, the representation format is determined top-down based on the simple object context provided. Overall, these findings support the notion of VWM as a capacity-limited resource, with storage capacity depending on the structured representation of to-be-remembered objects. (PsycINFO Database Record
Oosterman, Joukje M.; Morel, Sascha; Meijer, Lisette; Buvens, Cleo; Kessels, Roy P. C.; Postma, Albert
The present study was intended to compare age effects on visual and spatial working memory by using two versions of the same task that differed only in presentation mode. The working memory task contained both a simultaneous and a sequential presentation mode condition, reflecting, respectively, visual and spatial working memory processes. Young…
Gathercole, Susan E.; Alloway, Tracy Packiam
A good working memory is crucial to becoming a successful leaner, yet there is very little material available in an easy-to-use format that explains the concept and offers practitioners ways to support children with poor working memory in the classroom. This book provides a coherent overview of the role played by working memory in learning during…
Peeters, Marieke; Verhoeven, Ludo; de Moor, Jan
The goal of the present study was to examine the precursors of verbal working memory in 52 children with cerebral palsy with varying degrees of speech impairments in the first grade of special education. Following Baddeley's model of working memory, children's verbal working memory was measured by means of a forced-recognition task. As precursors…
Wagar, B.M.; Dixon, M.J.
The nature of object representation in working memory is vital to establishing the capacity of working memory, which in turn shapes the limits of visual cognition and awareness. Although current theories discuss whether representations in working memory are feature-based or object-based, no theory has considered the role of past experience.…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
Working memory, ability to remember and manipulate information, is crucial to academic attainment. The aim of the present study was to understand teachers' perception of working memory and how it impacts classroom behaviour. A semi-structured interview was used to explore teachers' ability to define working memory, identify these difficulties in…
van Daal, John; Verhoeven, Ludo; van Leeuwe, Jan; van Balkom, Hans
In the present study, the relations of various aspects of working memory to various aspects of language problems in a clinical sample of 97 Dutch speaking 5-year-old children with severe language problems were studied. The working memory and language abilities of the children were examined using an extensive battery of tests. Working memory was…
Munneke, Jaap; Heslenfeld, Dirk J.; Theeuwes, Jan
The present study investigated how spatial working memory recruits early visual cortex. Participants were required to maintain a location in working memory while changes in blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals were measured during the retention interval in which no visual stimulation was present. We show working memory effects during the…
Posedel, James; Emery, Lisa; Souza, Benjamin; Fountain, Catherine
Previous research has suggested that training on a musical instrument is associated with improvements in working memory and musical pitch perception ability. Good working memory and musical pitch perception ability, in turn, have been linked to certain aspects of language production. The current study examines whether working memory and/or pitch…
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.
The notion of working memory (WM) was introduced to account for the usage of short-term memory resources by other cognitive tasks such as reasoning, mental arithmetic, language comprehension, and many others. This collaboration between memory and other cognitive tasks can only be achieved by a dedicated WM system that controls task coordination. To that end, WM models include executive control. Nevertheless, other attention control systems may be involved in coordination of memory and cognitive tasks calling on memory resources. The present paper briefly reviews the evidence concerning the role of selective attention in WM activities. A model is proposed in which selective attention control is directly linked to the executive control part of the WM system. The model assumes that apart from storage of declarative information, the system also includes an executive WM module that represents the current task set. Control processes are automatically triggered when particular conditions in these modules are met. As each task set represents the parameter settings and the actions needed to achieve the task goal, it will depend on the specific settings and actions whether selective attention control will have to be shared among the active tasks. Only when such sharing is required, task performance will be affected by the capacity limits of the control system involved. PMID:25152723
Xie, Weizhen; Zhang, Weiwei
Negative emotion impacts a variety of cognitive processes, including working memory (WM). The present study investigated whether negative emotion modulated WM capacity (quantity) or resolution (quality), 2 independent limits on WM storage. In Experiment 1, observers tried to remember several colors over 1-s delay and then recalled the color of a randomly picked memory item by clicking a best-matching color on a continuous color wheel. On each trial, before the visual WM task, 1 of 3 emotion conditions (negative, neutral, or positive) was induced by having observers to rate the valence of an International Affective Picture System image. Visual WM under negative emotion showed enhanced resolution compared with neutral and positive conditions, whereas the number of retained representations was comparable across the 3 emotion conditions. These effects were generalized to closed-contour shapes in Experiment 2. To isolate the locus of these effects, Experiment 3 adopted an iconic memory version of the color recall task by eliminating the 1-s retention interval. No significant change in the quantity or quality of iconic memory was observed, suggesting that the resolution effects in the first 2 experiments were critically dependent on the need to retain memory representations over a short period of time. Taken together, these results suggest that negative emotion selectively boosts visual WM quality, supporting the dissociable nature quantitative and qualitative aspects of visual WM representation. (PsycINFO Database Record
Berninger, Virginia W.; Abbott, Robert D.; Thomson, Jennifer; Wagner, Richard; Swanson, H. Lee; Wijsman, Ellen M.; Raskind, Wendy
Recent theoretical advances in working memory guided analyses of cognitive measures in 122 children with dyslexia and their 200 affected biological parents in families with a multigenerational history of dyslexia. Both children and adults were most severely impaired, on average, in three working memory components- phonological word-form storage,…
Lee, Kerry; Ning, Flora; Goh, Hui Chin
Although the effects of achievement goals and working memory on academic performance are well established, it is not clear whether they jointly affect academic performance. Children from Primary 4 and 6 (N = 608) were administered (a) measures of working memory and updating from the automated working memory battery and a running span task, (b)…
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.
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.
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
Schicktanz, Nathalie; Fastenrath, Matthias; Milnik, Annette; Spalek, Klara; Auschra, Bianca; Nyffeler, Thomas; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J-F; Schwegler, Kyrill
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a key role in working memory. Evidence indicates that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the DLPFC can interfere with working memory performance. Here we investigated for how long continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over the DLPFC decreases working memory performance and whether the effect of cTBS on performance depends on working memory load. Forty healthy young subjects received either cTBS over the left DLPFC or sham stimulation before performing a 2-, and 3-back working memory letter task. An additional 0-back condition served as a non-memory-related control, measuring general attention. cTBS over the left DLPFC significantly impaired 2-back working memory performance for about 15 min, whereas 3-back and 0-back performances were not significantly affected. Our results indicate that the effect of left DLPFC cTBS on working memory performance lasts for roughly 15 min and depends on working memory load.
Bergmann, Heiko C.; Rijpkema, Mark; Fernández, Guillén; Kessels, Roy P. C.
Background Emotion can either facilitate or impair memory, depending on what, when and how memory is tested and whether the paradigm at hand is administered as a working memory (WM) or a long-term memory (LTM) task. Whereas emotionally arousing single stimuli are more likely to be remembered, memory for the relationship between two or more component parts (i.e., relational memory) appears to be worse in the presence of emotional stimuli, at least in some relational memory tasks. The current study investigated the effects of both valence (neutral vs. positive vs. negative) and arousal (low vs. high) in an inter-item WM binding and LTM task. Methodology/Principal Findings A five-pair delayed-match-to-sample (WM) task was administered. In each trial, study pairs consisted of one neutral picture and a second picture of which the emotional qualities (valence and arousal levels) were manipulated. These pairs had to be remembered across a delay interval of 10 seconds. This was followed by a probe phase in which five pairs were tested. After completion of this task, an unexpected single item LTM task as well as an LTM task for the pairs was assessed. As expected, emotional arousal impaired WM processing. This was reflected in lower accuracy for pairs consisting of high-arousal pictures compared to pairs with low-arousal pictures. A similar effect was found for the associative LTM task. However, the arousal effect was modulated by affective valence for the WM but not the LTM task; pairs with low-arousal negative pictures were not processed as well in the WM task. No significant differences were found for the single-item LTM task. Conclusions/Significance The present study provides additional evidence that processes during initial perception/encoding and post-encoding processes, the time interval between study and test and the interaction between valence and arousal might modulate the effects of “emotion” on associative memory. PMID:23300724
Social anxiety is associated with attentional bias and working memory for emotional stimuli; however, the ways in which social anxiety affects cognitive functions involving non-emotional stimuli remains unclear. The present study focused on the role of attentional networks (i.e. alerting, orienting, and executive control networks) and visuospatial working memory capacity (WMC) for non-emotional stimuli in the context of social anxiety. One hundred and seventeen undergraduates completed questionnaires on social anxiety. They then performed an attentional network test and a change detection task to measure visuospatial WMC. Orienting network and visuospatial WMC were positively correlated with social anxiety. A multiple regression analysis showed significant positive associations of alerting, orienting, and visuospatial WMC with social anxiety. Alerting, orienting networks, and high visuospatial WMC for non-emotional stimuli may predict degree of social anxiety.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Kalechstein, Ari D; De La Garza, Richard; Newton, Thomas F
Modafinil improves working memory in healthy subjects and individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, though the effects of modafinil have not been evaluated on working memory in methamphetamine-dependent subjects. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated whether a daily dose of 400 mg of modafinil, administered over three consecutive days, would enhance performance on a measure of working memory relative to test performance at baseline and following 3 days of placebo administration in 11 methamphetamine addicted, nontreatment-seeking volunteers. The results revealed that participants demonstrating relatively poor performance on the third day of a 3-day washout period (ie, at baseline), showed significant improvement on measures of working memory, but not on measures of episodic memory or information processing speed. In contrast, for participants demonstrating relatively high performance at baseline, modafinil administration did not affect test scores. The findings provide an initial indication that modafinil can reverse methamphetamine-associated impairments in working memory.
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
Wright, Heather Harris; Fergadiotis, Gerasimos
Background General agreement exists in the literature that individuals with aphasia can exhibit a working memory deficit that contributes to their language processing impairments. Though conceptualized within different working memory frameworks, researchers have suggested that individuals with aphasia have limited working memory capacity, impaired attention-control processes as well as impaired inhibitory mechanisms. However, across studies investigating working memory ability in individuals with aphasia, different measures have been used to quantify their working memory ability and identify the relationship between working memory and language performance. Aims The primary objectives of this article are to (1) review current working memory theoretical frameworks, (2) review tasks used to measure working memory, and (3) discuss findings from studies that have investigated working memory as they relate to language processing in aphasia. Main Contribution Though findings have been consistent across studies investigating working memory ability in individuals with aphasia, discussion of how working memory is conceptualized and defined is often missing, as is discussion of results within a theoretical framework. This is critical, as working memory is conceptualized differently across the different theoretical frameworks. They differ in explaining what limits capacity and the source of individual differences as well as how information is encoded, maintained, and retrieved. When test methods are considered within a theoretical framework, specific hypotheses can be tested and stronger conclusions that are less susceptible to different interpretations can be made. Conclusions Working memory ability has been investigated in numerous studies with individuals with aphasia. To better understand the underlying cognitive constructs that contribute to the language deficits exhibited by individuals with aphasia, future investigations should operationally define the cognitive
Ros, Laura; Latorre, José Miguel; Serrano, Juan Pedro
The objectives of this study are to compare the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) performance of two healthy samples of younger and older adults and to analyse the relationship between overgeneral memory (OGM) and working memory executive processes (WMEP) using a structural equation modelling with latent variables. The AMT and sustained attention, short-term memory and working memory tasks were administered to a group of young adults (N = 50) and a group of older adults (N = 46). On the AMT, the older adults recalled a greater number of categorical memories (p = .000) and fewer specific memories (p = .000) than the young adults, confirming that OGM occurs in the normal population and increases with age. WMEP was measured by reading span and a working memory with sustained attention load task. Structural equation modelling reflects that WMEP shows a strong relationship with OGM: lower scores on WMEP reflect an OGM phenomenon characterized by higher categorical and lower specific memories.
Voigt, Babett; Mahy, Caitlin E. V.; Ellis, Judi; Schnitzspahn, Katharina; Krause, Ivonne; Altgassen, Mareike; Kliegel, Matthias
This large-scale study examined the development of time-based prospective memory (PM) across childhood and the roles that working memory updating and time monitoring play in driving age effects in PM performance. One hundred and ninety-seven children aged 5 to 14 years completed a time-based PM task where working memory updating load was…
Helton, William S; Russell, Paul N
In this study, we examined the impact of concurrent verbal and visuospatial working memory demands on performance of a visuospatial successive target detection task. Three hundred and four participants performed a visuospatial vigilance task while simultaneously performing either a spatial or verbal working memory task that either required a memory load during the vigil or did not require a memory load during the vigil. Perceptual sensitivity A' to vigilance target stimuli was reduced by concurrent memory load, both verbal and visuospatial. The decline in perceptual sensitivity to vigilance targets, the vigilance decrement, was steeper for a visuospatial memory task than a verbal memory task, regardless of concurrent memory load. Memory performance after vigilance detection trials was much lower for visuospatial than verbal items, even though memory performance before vigilance detection trials was higher for visuospatial than verbal items. Together, this indicates increased interference when a visuospatial vigilance task is paired with a visuospatial memory task, than when paired with a verbal memory task. Overall, the visuospatial and verbal working memory loads both impacted vigilance target detection, suggesting utilization of common executive resources. There may, however, be domain specific interference, and this may be exacerbated for two visuospatial tasks.
Soutschek, Alexander; Schubert, Torsten
Successful cooperation requires that humans can flexibly adjust choices to their partner's behaviour. This, in turn, presupposes a representation of a partner's past decisions in working memory. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of working memory processes in cooperation. For that purpose, we tested the effects of working memory updating (Experiment 1) and working memory maintenance demands (Experiments 2 and 3) on cooperative behaviour in the Prisoner's dilemma game. We found that demands on updating, but not maintenance, of working memory contents impaired strategy use in the Prisoner's dilemma. Thus, our data show that updating a partner's past behaviour in working memory represents an important precondition for strategy use in cooperation.
Rabbitt, Laura R; Roberts, Daniel M; McDonald, Craig G; Peterson, Matthew S
There is extensive evidence that the contralateral delay activity (CDA), a scalp recorded event-related brain potential, provides a reliable index of the number of objects held in visual working memory. Here we present evidence that the CDA not only indexes visual object working memory, but also the number of locations held in spatial working memory. In addition, we demonstrate that the CDA can be predictably modulated by the type of encoding strategy employed. When individual locations were held in working memory, the pattern of CDA modulation mimicked previous findings for visual object working memory. Specifically, CDA amplitude increased monotonically until working memory capacity was reached. However, when participants were instructed to group individual locations to form a constellation, the CDA was prolonged and reached an asymptote at two locations. This result provides neural evidence for the formation of a unitary representation of multiple spatial locations.
Conlin, J.A.; Gathercole, S.E.; Adams, J.W.
Three experiments investigated the roles of resource-sharing and intrinsic memory demands in complex working memory span performance in 7- and 9-year-olds. In Experiment 1, the processing complexity of arithmetic operations was varied under conditions in which processing times were equivalent. Memory span did not differ as a function of processing…
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.
Molet, Mikael; Kosinski, Thierry; Craddock, Paul; Miguez, Gonzalo; Mash, Lisa E; Miller, Ralph R
People can form opinions of other individuals based on information about their good or bad behavior. The present study investigated whether this affective learning might depend on memory links formed between initially neutral people and valenced information. First, participants viewed neutral faces paired with sentences describing prosocial or antisocial behaviors. Second, memory suppression manipulations with the potential to aid in the forgetting of valenced information were administered. Using the Think/No think paradigm, the effectiveness of four different suppression instructions was compared: Unguided Suppression, Guided Suppression, Distraction, and Thought Substitution. Overall, all the tasks appreciably reduced affective learning based on prosocial information, but only the Guided Suppression and Thought Substitution tasks reduced affective learning based on antisocial information. These results suggest that weakening the putative memory link between initially neutral people and valenced information can decrease the effect of learned associations on the evaluation of other people. We interpreted this as indicative that social affective learning may rely on declarative memories.
Barch, Deanna M; Moore, Holly; Nee, Derek E; Manoach, Dara S; Luck, Steven J
The sixth meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) consortium was focused on selecting promising imaging biomarker measures for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of working memory (WM), the 2 constructs of interest were "goal maintenance" and "interference control." CNTRICS received 7 task nominations for goal maintenance and 3 task nominations for interference control. For goal maintenance, the breakout group for WM recommended the AX Continuous Performance Test/Dot Pattern Expectancy (DPX) and the Switching Stroop task for translation and further development for use in clinical trial contexts in schizophrenia research. Notably, these same 2 paradigms were recommended for "rule generation and selection" in executive control, a highly related construct. For interference control, the breakout group recommended the Suppress Task and the Sternberg Item Recognition Paradigm for translation for use in clinical trials. This manuscript describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used by the breakout group to recommend tasks for further development. In addition, the group revisited the construct of WM capacity. Since the initial CNTRICS meeting, a growing body of work has emerged on the neurobiological substrates of WM capacity, making measure of this construct ready for translation. The group suggested a promising imaging biomarker measure for capacity, a version of the change detection task that measures delay activity over posterior parietal and occipital cortex.
Cohen, Henri; Scherzer, Peter; Viau, Robert; Voss, Patrice; Lepore, Franco
Tactile working memory was found to be more developed in completely blind (congenital and acquired) than in semi-sighted subjects, indicating that experience plays a crucial role in shaping working memory. A model of working memory, adapted from the classical model proposed by Baddeley and Hitch1 and Baddeley2 is presented where the connection strengths of a highly cross-modal network are altered through experience.
van Geldorp, Bonnie; Bergmann, Heiko C; Robertson, Johanna; Wester, Arie J; Kessels, Roy P C
Both neuroimaging work and studies investigating amnesic patients have shown involvement of the medial temporal lobe during working memory tasks, especially when multiple items or features have to be associated. However, so far no study has examined the relationship between working memory and subsequent episodic memory in patients using similar tasks. In this study, we compared patients with amnesia due to Korsakoff's syndrome (n=19) with healthy controls (n=18) on an associative working memory task followed by an unexpected subsequent episodic memory task. The computerized working memory task required participants to maintain two pairs of faces and houses for either short (3s) or long (6s) delays. Approximately 5 minutes after completion of the working memory task, an unexpected subsequent recognition task with a two-alternative forced choice paradigm was administered. By directly comparing working memory and subsequent episodic memory, we were able to examine long-term encoding processes that may take place after longer delays. As expected, patients performed at chance level on the episodic memory task. Interestingly, patients also showed significantly impaired working memory performance (p<.01), even at short delays. Longer delays did not result in better subsequent memory, indicating that they do not facilitate long-term encoding processes. Our results are discussed in relation to Baddeley's working memory model as the episodic buffer is assumed to be a short-term store for maintaining bound representations. In light of these results, the long-standing view that working memory and long-term memory are strictly dissociated may need to be revisited.
Linden, David E J
Working memory and short-term memory are closely related in their cognitive architecture, capacity limitations, and functional neuroanatomy, which only partly overlap with those of long-term memory. The author reviews the functional neuroimaging literature on the commonalities and differences between working memory and short-term memory and the interplay of areas with modality-specific and supramodal representations in the brain networks supporting these fundamental cognitive processes. Sensory stores in the visual, auditory, and somatosensory cortex play a role in short-term memory, but supramodal parietal and frontal areas are often recruited as well. Classical working memory operations such as manipulation, protection against interference, or updating almost certainly require at least some degree of prefrontal support, but many pure maintenance tasks involve these areas as well. Although it seems that activity shifts from more posterior regions during encoding to more anterior regions during delay, some studies reported sustained delay activity in sensory areas as well. This spatiotemporal complexity of the short-term memory/working memory networks is mirrored in the activation patterns that may explain capacity constraints, which, although most prominent in the parietal cortex, seem to be pervasive across sensory and premotor areas. Finally, the author highlights open questions for cognitive neuroscience research of working memory, such as that of the mechanisms for integrating different types of content (binding) or those providing the link to long-term memory.
Kuhajda, M C; Thorn, B E; Klinger, M R
Memory is a key cognitive variable in pain management, but lacks extensive research. This study is a replication and extension of Seltzer and Yarczower's investigation of pain's influence on memory for affective words, which found fewer positive words and more negative words recalled if subjects were in acute pain (versus no pain). In the present study, two experiments were conducted: one with a recall memory test and one with a recognition memory test. One hundred sixty undergraduate subjects were randomly placed in one of four groups: two groups had the same condition (pain or no pain) for both the encoding task and memory test, and two groups had mixed conditions (pain at encoding-no pain at memory test or no pain at encoding-pain at memory test). Pain was induced by 0 degrees-2 degrees C water immersion. At encoding, subjects categorized words by judging them as either positive or negative. Results of both experiments show that pain impairs memory. In neither experiment were differences found on memory for positive and negative words. These results do not support Seltzer and Yarczower's discriminative effects of pain on word category, but they are consistent with other research using acute pain manipulations and chronic pain populations, suggesting that pain interferes with memory. It is hypothesized that pain depletes scarce attentional resources, thereby interfering with concurrent cognitive tasks such as thinking, reasoning, and remembering.
This article investigates whether and how L2 sentence processing is affected by memory constraints that force serial parsing. Monitoring eye movements, we test effects of working memory on L2 relative-clause attachment preferences in a sample of 75 late-adult German learners of English and 25 native English controls. Mixed linear regression…
Fairfield, Beth; Colangelo, Mirco; Mammarella, Nicola; Di Domenico, Alberto; Cornoldi, Cesare
This study examined the production of inferential false memories for complex pictorial stimuli and the implications of affective content in Alzheimer's disease (AD). A group of 24 AD patients and a group of 24 healthy older adults studied a sequence of pictures depicting stories that included positive, negative or neutral consequences of an unseen action, and then completed an old-new picture recognition test. The number of causal errors was higher in healthy older adults compared to AD patients but affective content attenuated the effect. Causal errors increased in AD patients when stories included affective (positive or negative) outcomes. In addition, negative content produced a larger number of errors than positive content across groups. This data confirms that although memory processing is poorer in AD, it is sensitive to affective content. Accordingly, the nature of affective false memory errors suggest the need to consider the use of affective information in the development of new cognitive training procedures.
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.
Beatty, W W; Rush, J R
To assess the possible involvement of the monoaminergic neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the maintenance of spatial working memory rats were treated with antagonists 0 or 2 hr after completing the first 4 choices in an 8 arm maze. Haloperidol (0.25-1 mg/kg), when administered 2 hr after Choice 4, produced a small but consistent impairment in performance on retention tests given 5 hr after the first 4 choices. This deficit closely resembled natural forgetting in terms of the type of errors committed. By contrast, haloperidol in the same doses given 0 hr after Choice 4 or 3 hr before the first 4 choices did not affect retention. Likewise treatment with propranolol (10-20 mg/kg), phentolamine (5-20 mg/kg) or methysergide (5-15 mg/kg) did not impair spatial memory, regardless of when these drugs were injected within the session. Evidently dopaminergic neuronal systems are important in the maintenance of normal spatial working memory.
Scott, D; Ponsoda, V
All previous reports on the phenomenon of flashbulb memories relate to hearing of shocking (or "bad") news: in other words, that of negative affect. This study represents the first attempt to investigate whether those criteria used to define flashbulb memories would similarly apply to events of similar strength but of positive affect. 70 questionnaires were administered relating to 20 events over a 10-yr. period. No significant differences were found on the cardinal features of flasbhulb memories for events of negative versus positive affect. This suggests that an hitherto untapped research area may be explored to clarify controversial issues within this construct such as whether a special mechanism exists in the formation of flashbulb memories.
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.
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
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
Testa, S Marc; Ward, Julianna; Crone, Nathan E; Brandt, Jason
The effects of amytal injection side, seizure focus laterality, and stimulus type (real and line-drawn objects, printed words, and faces) on recognition memory were studied during the Wada procedure. To-be-remembered stimuli were presented during cerebral anesthesia to 35 patients with left temporal lobe epilepsy (LTLE) and 28 patients with right temporal lobe epilepsy (RTLE), all with left hemisphere language dominance. In both groups, recognition of real and line-drawn objects was best after anesthetization of the lesional hemisphere. Recognition of faces was poor after either injection in patients with RTLE, but only after right injection in patients with LTLE. Conversely, recognition of words by patients with LTLE was impaired equally after either injection, but more so after left than right injection in patients with RTLE. The findings suggest that (1) real and line-drawn objects are "dually encoded" and memory accuracy depends on seizure focus laterality, and (2) accuracy in recognition of words and faces is related to seizure focus laterality, but may also depend on the language dominance of the hemisphere being assessed.
Schuler, Anne; Scheiter, Katharina; van Genuchten, Erlijn
A lot of research has focused on the beneficial effects of using multimedia, that is, text and pictures, for learning. Theories of multimedia learning are based on Baddeley's working memory model (Baddeley 1999). Despite this theoretical foundation, there is only little research that aims at empirically testing whether and more importantly how…
Biedron, Adriana; Szczepaniak, Anna
The role of short-term memory and working memory in accomplished multilinguals was investigated. Twenty-eight accomplished multilinguals were compared to 36 mainstream philology students. The following instruments were used in the study: three memory subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (Digit Span, Digit-Symbol Coding, and Arithmetic,…
Spachtholz, Philipp; Kuhbandner, Christof; Pekrun, Reinhard
Research has shown that long-term memory representations of objects are formed as a natural product of perception even without any intentional memorization. It is not known, however, how rich these representations are in terms of the number of bound object features. In particular, because feature binding rests on resource-limited processes, there may be a context-dependent trade-off between the quantity of stored features and their memory strength. The authors examined whether affective state may bring about such a trade-off. Participants incidentally encoded pictures of real-world objects while experiencing positive or negative affect, and the authors later measured memory for 2 features. Results showed that participants traded between richness and strength of memory representations as a function of affect, with positive affect tuning memory formation toward richness and negative affect tuning memory formation toward strength. These findings demonstrate that memory binding is a flexible process that is modulated by affective state. (PsycINFO Database Record
Packiam Alloway, Tracy; Banner, Gloria E.; Smith, Patrick
Background: Working memory, the ability to store and process information, is strongly related to learning outcomes. Aims: The aim of the present study is to extend previous research on early learning and investigate the relationship between working memory, cognitive styles, and attainment in adolescents using both national curriculum tests and…
Beauchamp, Miriam H.; Thompson, Deanne K.; Howard, Kelly; Doyle, Lex W.; Egan, Gary F.; Inder, Terrie E.; Anderson, Peter J.
Children born preterm exhibit working memory deficits. These deficits may be associated with structural brain changes observed in the neonatal period. In this study, the relationship between neonatal regional brain volumes and working memory deficits at age 2 years were investigated, with a particular interest in the dorsolateral prefrontal…
Kim, Ji Hyon; Christianson, Kiel
Two self-paced reading experiments using a paraphrase decision task paradigm were performed to investigate how sentence complexity contributed to the relative clause (RC) attachment preferences of speakers of different working memory capacities (WMCs). Experiment 1 (English) showed working memory effects on relative clause processing in both…
Crawford, L. Elizabeth; Landy, David; Salthouse, Timothy A.
Spatial memory research has attributed systematic bias in location estimates to a combination of a noisy memory trace with a prior structure that people impose on the space. Little is known about intraindividual stability and interindividual variation in these patterns of bias. In the current work, we align recent empirical and theoretical work on…
Martinussen, Rhonda; Major, Ashley
Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk for academic underachievement. Children and youth with ADHD have been found to exhibit impairments on neuropsychological measures of executive functions, including working memory. Working memory is important to attentional control and learning. This article defines working…
Beigneux, Katia; Plaie, Thierry; Isingrini, Michel
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of aging on the storage of visual and spatial working memory according to Logie's model of working memory (1995). In a first experiment young, elderly, and very old subjects carried out two tasks usually used to measure visual span (Visual Patterns Test) and spatial span (Corsi Block Tapping test).…
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Yang, Lee-Xieng; Newell, Ben R.; Kalish, Michael L.
Working memory is crucial for many higher level cognitive functions, ranging from mental arithmetic to reasoning and problem solving. Likewise, the ability to learn and categorize novel concepts forms an indispensable part of human cognition. However, very little is known about the relationship between working memory and categorization. This…
Ravizza, Susan M.; Mccormick, Cristin A.; Schlerf, John E.; Justus, Timothy; Ivry, Richard B.; Fiez, Julie A.
The cerebellum is often active in imaging studies of verbal working memory, consistent with a putative role in articulatory rehearsal. While patients with cerebellar damage occasionally exhibit a mild impairment on standard neuropsychological tests of working memory, these tests are not diagnostic for exploring these processes in detail. The…
Demetriou, Andreas; Christou, Constantinos; Spanoudis, George; Platsidou, Maria
Examined, over 1 year, relations between information processing efficiency, working memory, and problem solving in sample of 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-year-olds. Identified three-stratus hierarchy with individual dimensions organized in three constructs: processing efficiency, working memory, and problem solving. Found that individual dimensions were…
Henry, L.; Winfield, J.
Background: There is little previous research examining whether measures of working memory are related to educational achievement in children with intellectual disabilities (ID). Methods: A battery of working memory and achievement measures was administered to 11- to 12-year-old children with ID; younger typically developing children of comparable…
Schweizer, Karl; Moosbrugger, Helfried
The paper reports on an investigation of attention and working memory as sources of intelligence. The investigation was concentrated on the relatedness of attention and working memory as predictors of intelligence and on the structure underlying the prediction. In a sample of 120 participants, intelligence was assessed by the Advanced Progressive…
McGettigan, Carolyn; Warren, Jane E.; Eisner, Frank; Marshall, Chloe R.; Shanmugalingam, Pradheep; Scott, Sophie K.
This study investigated links between working memory and speech processing systems. We used delayed pseudoword repetition in fMRI to investigate the neural correlates of sublexical structure in phonological working memory (pWM). We orthogonally varied the number of syllables and consonant clusters in auditory pseudowords and measured the neural…
Working memory is the retention of a small amount of information in a readily accessible form. It facilitates planning, comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving. I examine the historical roots and conceptual development of the concept and the theoretical and practical implications of current debates about working memory mechanisms. Then, I…
Smith, Alexander; Ayres, Paul
The study reviewed the evidence that persistent pain has the capacity to interrupt and consume working memory resources. It was argued that individuals with persistent pain essentially operate within a compromised neurocognitive paradigm of limited working memory resources that impairs task performance. Using cognitive load theory as a theoretical…
Engel de Abreu, Pascale M. J.; Conway, Andrew R. A.; Gathercole, Susan E.
The present study investigates how working memory and fluid intelligence are related in young children and how these links develop over time. The major aim is to determine which aspect of the working memory system--short-term storage or cognitive control--drives the relationship with fluid intelligence. A sample of 119 children was followed from…
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth
Working memory skills have been shown to be enhanced by adaptive training in several randomised controlled trials. Here, two field trials were conducted in which teachers administered working memory training to their own pupils in school. Twenty-two children aged 8-9?years participated in Trial 1. In Trial 2, 50 children aged 9-11?years with the…
Mammarella, Irene C.; Pazzaglia, Francesca; Cornoldi, Cesare
There are a large number of studies demonstrating that visuospatial working memory (VSWM) involves different subcomponents, but there is no agreement on the identity of these dimensions. The present study attempts to combine different theoretical accounts by measuring VSWM. A battery composed of 13 tests was used to assess working memory and, in…
Barrouillet, Pierre; Portrat, Sophie; Camos, Valerie
"Working memory" is usually defined in cognitive psychology as a system devoted to the simultaneous processing and maintenance of information. However, although many models of working memory have been put forward during the last decades, they often leave underspecified the dynamic interplay between processing and storage. Moreover, the account of…
Hernandez, Mireia; Costa, Albert; Humphreys, Glyn W.
We ask whether bilingualism aids cognitive control over the inadvertent guidance of visual attention from working memory and from bottom-up cueing. We compare highly-proficient Catalan-Spanish bilinguals with Spanish monolinguals in three visual search conditions. In the working memory (WM) condition, attention was driven in a top-down fashion by…
UNCLASSIFIED Defense Technical Information Center Compilation Part Notice ADP010568 TITLE: Working Memory, Age, Crew Downsizing , System Design and...comprise the compilation report: ADP010557 thru ADP010582 UNCLASSIFIED 15-1 Working Memory, Age, Crew Downsizing , System Design and Training Dr Malcolm J
Working memory is crucial for many higher-level cognitive functions, ranging from mental arithmetic to reasoning and problem solving. Likewise, the ability to learn and categorize novel concepts forms an indispensable part of human cognition. However, very little is known about the relationship between working memory and categorization, and…
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 5-year-olds performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on two rules and four rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands…
Schweppe, Judith; Rummer, Ralf
Cognitive models of multimedia learning such as the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer 2009) or the Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller 1999) are based on different cognitive models of working memory (e.g., Baddeley 1986) and long-term memory. The current paper describes a working memory model that has recently gained popularity in basic…
Zach, Sima; Shalom, Eyal
The effect of three types of physical activity on two types of working memory were investigated. Participants were 20 adult males who trained twice a week in volleyball two hours per session. Procedures included two pre and post intervention tests of working memory: the Digit span and Visual Memory Span subtests of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised. Interventions included tactical volleyball formation, body-weight resistance exercises, 15 minutes of running, and sub-maximal aerobic activity. Volleyball activity improved memory performance to a greater extent than the other two activities. Results indicate that immediately after acute exercise there is an increase in working memory function, more evident after physical activity in which cognitive functioning is inherent.
I investigated whether negative affective states enhance encoding of and memory for item-specific information reducing false memories. Positive, negative, and neutral moods were induced, and participants then completed a Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) false-memory task. List items were presented in unique spatial locations or unique fonts to serve as measures for item-specific encoding. The negative mood conditions had more accurate memories for item-specific information, and they also had fewer false memories. The final experiment used a manipulation that drew attention to distinctive information, which aided learning for DRM words, but also promoted item-specific encoding. For the condition that promoted item-specific encoding, false memories were reduced for positive and neutral mood conditions to a rate similar to that of the negative mood condition. These experiments demonstrated that negative affective cues promote item-specific processing reducing false memories. People in positive and negative moods encode events differently creating different memories for the same event.
Stokes, Mark G.; Walther, Lena; Nobre, Anna C.
Our capacity to remember and manipulate objects in working memory (WM) is severely limited. However, this capacity limitation is unlikely to be fixed because behavioral models indicate variability from trial to trial. We investigated whether fluctuations in neural excitability at stimulus encoding, as indexed by low-frequency oscillations (in the alpha band, 8–14 Hz), contribute to this variability. Specifically, we hypothesized that the spontaneous state of alpha band activity would correlate with trial-by-trial fluctuations in visual WM. Electroencephalography recorded from human observers during a visual WM task revealed that the prestimulus desynchronization of alpha oscillations predicts the accuracy of memory recall on a trial-by-trial basis. A model-based analysis indicated that this effect arises from a modulation in the precision of memorized items, but not the likelihood of remembering them (the recall rate). The phase of posterior alpha oscillations preceding the memorized item also predicted memory accuracy. Based on correlations between prestimulus alpha levels and stimulus-related visual evoked responses, we speculate that the prestimulus state of the visual system prefigures a cascade of state-dependent processes, ultimately affecting WM-guided behavior. Overall, our results indicate that spontaneous changes in cortical excitability can have profound consequences for higher visual cognition. PMID:24899697
Passolunghi, Maria Chiara; Costa, Hiwet Mariam
Many factors influence children's performance in mathematical achievement, including both domain-specific and domain-general factors. This study aimed to verify and compare the effects of two types of training on early numerical skills. One type of training focused on the enhancement of working memory, a domain-general precursor, while the other focused on the enhancement of early numeracy, a domain-specific precursor. The participants were 48 five-year-old preschool children. Both the working memory and early numeracy training programs were implemented for 5 weeks. The results showed that the early numeracy intervention specifically improved early numeracy abilities in preschool children, whereas working memory intervention improved not only working memory abilities but also early numeracy abilities. These findings stress the importance of performing activities designed to train working memory abilities, in addition to activities aimed to enhance more specific skills, in the early prevention of learning difficulties during preschool years.
Spellman, Timothy; Rigotti, Mattia; Ahmari, Susanne E; Fusi, Stefano; Gogos, Joseph A; Gordon, Joshua A
Spatial working memory, the caching of behaviourally relevant spatial cues on a timescale of seconds, is a fundamental constituent of cognition. Although the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are known to contribute jointly to successful spatial working memory, the anatomical pathway and temporal window for the interaction of these structures critical to spatial working memory has not yet been established. Here we find that direct hippocampal-prefrontal afferents are critical for encoding, but not for maintenance or retrieval, of spatial cues in mice. These cues are represented by the activity of individual prefrontal units in a manner that is dependent on hippocampal input only during the cue-encoding phase of a spatial working memory task. Successful encoding of these cues appears to be mediated by gamma-frequency synchrony between the two structures. These findings indicate a critical role for the direct hippocampal-prefrontal afferent pathway in the continuous updating of task-related spatial information during spatial working memory.
Kiyonaga, Anastasia; Egner, Tobias
Directing visual attention toward a particular feature or location in the environment suppresses processing of nearby stimuli [1-4]. Echoing the center-surround organization of retinal ganglion cell receptive fields , and biasing of competitive local neuronal dynamics in favor of task-relevant stimuli , this "inhibitory surround" attention mechanism accentuates the demarcation between task-relevant and irrelevant items. Here, we show that internally maintaining a color stimulus in working memory (WM), rather than visually attending the stimulus in the external environment, produces an analogous pattern of inhibition for stimuli that are nearby in color space. Replicating a well-known effect of attentional capture by stimuli that match WM content , visual attention was biased toward (task-irrelevant) stimuli that exactly matched a WM item. This bias was curtailed, however, for stimuli that were very similar to the WM content (i.e., within the inhibitory zone surrounding the focus of WM) and recovered for less similar stimuli (i.e., beyond the bounds of the inhibitory surround). Moreover, the expression of this inhibition effect was positively associated with WM performance across observers. In a second experiment, inhibition also occurred between two similar items simultaneously held in WM. This suggests that maintenance in WM is characterized by an excitatory peak centered on the focus of (internal) attention, surrounded by an inhibitory zone to limit interference by irrelevant and confusable representations. Here, thus, we show for the first time that the same center-surround selection mechanism that focuses visual attention on sensory stimuli also selectively maintains internally activated representations in WM.
A substantial amount of literature has demonstrated individuals' tendency to code verbally a series of movements for subsequent recall. However, the mechanisms underlying movement encoding remain unclear. In this paper, I argue that sensorimotor expertise influences the involvement of motor processes to store movements in working memory. Experts in motor activities and individuals with limited motor expertise were compared in three experimental conditions assessing movement recall: (a) without suppression task, (b) with verbal suppression, and (c) with motor suppression. Athletes outperformed controls in movement recall, but the suppression tasks affected the two groups differently. Verbal suppression affected controls more than athletes, whereas the effect was reversed with motor suppression. Together, these findings suggest that controls and athletes favor different mechanisms to encode movements, either based on verbal or on motor processes, providing further evidence for a tight relationship between sensorimotor and cognitive processes.
Hupbach, Almut; Dorskind, Joelle M
When long-term memories are reactivated, they can reenter a transient plastic state in which they are vulnerable to interference or physiological manipulations. The present study attempted to directly affect reactivated memories through a stress manipulation, and compared the effects of stress on reactivated and nonreactivated components of a declarative memory in a within-subject design. We presented image pairs that consisted of an image of an animal and an image of an unrelated object. Participants were instructed to memorize the object images. Forty-eight hours later, we presented half of the animal images again in an unrelated task to indirectly reactivate the associated object images. Immediately after reactivation, participants were exposed to cold pressor stress or a warm water control condition. Forty-eight hours later, we assessed memory for the object images with a free recall test. Reactivation boosted memory performance in the control condition, such that reactivated items were better recalled than nonreactivated items. This memory-enhancing effect of reactivation was completely abolished by cold pressor stress. Importantly, stress selectively impacted only the reactivated items while leaving memory for the nonreactivated items unaffected. The present study shows that it is possible to selectively reactivate and modulate specific parts of a declarative memory.
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
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.
Wong, Mungchen; Rotello, Caren M.
Memory conjunction errors occur when aspects of two different events are falsely recognized or recalled as having occurred as parts of the same event. One theoretical account of conjunction errors is rooted in traditional dual-process models of recognition judgments, in which responses are based on an item’s familiarity or the retrieval of recollected details associated with the encoding of that item. We manipulated the familiarity of test probes by varying their semantic overlap with studied items, taking advantage of the inherent semantic transparency of compound words. Transparent compounds are those whose component parts (lexemes) are semantically related to the meaning of the entire word. In contrast, opaque compounds’ lexemes do not contribute directly to the meaning of the compound. We showed that the familiarity of semantically transparent assembly lures created from their lexemes (study dog and house, test on doghouse) is greater than the familiarity of opaque assembly lures (study back and draw, test on drawback). A response-signal experiment revealed no evidence for the use of a recall-to-reject process for either semantically transparent or opaque lures. PMID:19966238
Bergmann, Heiko C; Kiemeneij, Anne; Fernández, Guillén; Kessels, Roy P C
The present paper investigated the role of early and late stages of working-memory maintenance, which have been suggested to differentially contribute to long-term memory formation. In experiment 1, we administered a delayed-match-to-sample task, requiring participants to remember line drawings of non-sense three-dimensional stimuli. In the delay phase, participants were either presented with a fixation cross (for 2 or 9s) or with one of two different interference tasks, varying in visual overlap with the target. The interference task was presented 1.5, 4.5 or 7.5s after target offset. Early interfering and early probing disproportionately affected performance on an unexpected subsequent recognition-memory task compared to later interference or probing. This was not modulated by the type of interference task. In Experiment 2, we examined whether the formation of a holistic internal code of the target may be a gradual process. An analogous delayed-match-to-sample task was administered, with interference after 0.5, 2.5 or 4.5s after target offset. The early and middle interference condition similarly disproportionately affected performance compared to later interference. Hence, the present results support the view of a functional dissociation between early and late stages of working-memory maintenance and that early working-memory processes contribute particularly to long-term memory formation.
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.
Pauls, Franz; Petermann, Franz; Lepach, Anja Christina
Analysing the relationship between gender and memory, and examining the effects of age on the overall memory-related functioning, are the ongoing goals of psychological research. The present study examined gender and age group differences in episodic memory with respect to the type of task. In addition, these subgroup differences were also analysed in visual working memory. A sample of 366 women and 330 men, aged between 16 and 69 years of age, participated in the current study. Results indicate that women outperformed men on auditory memory tasks, whereas male adolescents and older male adults showed higher level performances on visual episodic and visual working memory measures. However, the size of gender-linked effects varied somewhat across age groups. Furthermore, results partly support a declining performance on episodic memory and visual working memory measures with increasing age. Although age-related losses in episodic memory could not be explained by a decreasing verbal and visuospatial ability with age, women's advantage in auditory episodic memory could be explained by their advantage in verbal ability. Men's higher level visual episodic memory performance was found to result from their advantage in visuospatial ability. Finally, possible methodological, biological, and cognitive explanations for the current findings are discussed.
Salisbury, Dean F
N400 is an event-related brain potential that indexes operations in semantic memory conceptual space, whether elicited by language or some other representation (e.g., drawings). Language models typically propose three stages: lexical access or orthographic- and phonological-level analysis; lexical selection or word-level meaning and associate activation; and lexical integration, sentence- and discourse-level operations. The exact stage that N400 reflects is unknown, although opinion favors lexical integration over lexical selection. Surprisingly, little research has assessed relationships between neuropsychological measures of semantic memory fund of information or verbal working memory capacity and N400. Subjects performed a homograph disambiguation comprehension task with minimal working memory load. Short sentences read: The noun was adjective/verb. The nouns were either homographs or unambiguous. The adjective/verb was disambiguating for the homograph, and congruent or incongruent for the unambiguous noun. The primary noun of interest was the subordinate homograph. Comprehension of the subordinate meaning should correlate with semantic memory stores, reflecting greater knowledge. If N400 primarily reflects lexical access operations, it should also correlate with measures of semantic knowledge. If N400 reflects lexical integration, it should correlate with measures of working memory capacity. Comprehension errors were associated with semantic memory stores, but not working memory capacity. N400 was related to working memory capacity, but not semantic knowledge, suggesting that N400 primarily reflects late-stage working memory operations. N400 to subordinate disambiguating words was larger with greater working memory capacity, and thus may index the absolute capacity of working memory rather than difficulty in contextual integration.
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.
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.
Dahlin, Karin I. E.
Working Memory (WM) has a central role in learning. It is suggested to be malleable and is considered necessary for several aspects of mathematical functioning. This study investigated whether work with an interactive computerised working memory training programme at school could affect the mathematical performance of young children. Fifty-seven…
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.
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.
Williams, Melonie; Woodman, Geoffrey F.
A defining characteristic of visual working memory is its limited capacity. This means that it is crucial to maintain only the most relevant information in visual working memory. However, empirical research is mixed as to whether it is possible to selectively maintain a subset of the information previously encoded into visual working memory. Here we examined the ability of subjects to use cues to either forget or remember a subset of the information already stored in visual working memory. In Experiment 1, participants were cued to either forget or remember one of two groups of colored squares during a change-detection task. We found that both types of cues aided performance in the visual working memory task, but that observers benefited more from a cue to remember than a cue to forget a subset of the objects. In Experiment 2, we show that the previous findings, which indicated that directed-forgetting cues are ineffective, were likely due to the presence of invalid cues that appear to cause observers to disregard such cues as unreliable. In Experiment 3, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) and show that an electrophysiological index of focused maintenance is elicited by cues that indicate which subset of information in visual working memory needs to be remembered, ruling out alternative explanations of the behavioral effects of retention-interval cues. The present findings demonstrate that observers can focus maintenance mechanisms on specific objects in visual working memory based on cues indicating future task relevance. PMID:22409182
Shi, Zhan; Liu, Peiru
Sixty-one high-math-anxious persons and sixty-one low-math-anxious persons completed a modified working memory capacity task, designed to measure working memory capacity under a dysfunctional math-related context and working memory capacity under a valence-neutral context. Participants were required to perform simple tasks with emotionally benign material (i.e., lists of letters) over short intervals while simultaneously reading and making judgments about sentences describing dysfunctional math-related thoughts or sentences describing emotionally-neutral facts about the world. Working memory capacity for letters under the dysfunctional math-related context, relative to working memory capacity performance under the valence-neutral context, was poorer overall in the high-math-anxious group compared with the low-math-anxious group. The findings show a particular difficulty employing working memory in math-related contexts in high-math-anxious participants. Theories that can provide reasonable interpretations for these findings and interventions that can reduce anxiety-induced worrying intrusive thoughts or improve working memory capacity for math anxiety are discussed. PMID:27788235
Riley, Mitchell R.; Constantinidis, Christos
The prefrontal cortex is activated during working memory, as evidenced by fMRI results in human studies and neurophysiological recordings in animal models. Persistent activity during the delay period of working memory tasks, after the offset of stimuli that subjects are required to remember, has traditionally been thought of as the neural correlate of working memory. In the last few years several findings have cast doubt on the role of this activity. By some accounts, activity in other brain areas, such as the primary visual and posterior parietal cortex, is a better predictor of information maintained in visual working memory and working memory performance; dynamic patterns of activity may convey information without requiring persistent activity at all; and prefrontal neurons may be ill-suited to represent non-spatial information about the features and identity of remembered stimuli. Alternative interpretations about the role of the prefrontal cortex have thus been suggested, such as that it provides a top-down control of information represented in other brain areas, rather than maintaining a working memory trace itself. Here we review evidence for and against the role of prefrontal persistent activity, with a focus on visual neurophysiology. We show that persistent activity predicts behavioral parameters precisely in working memory tasks. We illustrate that prefrontal cortex represents features of stimuli other than their spatial location, and that this information is largely absent from early cortical areas during working memory. We examine memory models not dependent on persistent activity, and conclude that each of those models could mediate only a limited range of memory-dependent behaviors. We review activity decoded from brain areas other than the prefrontal cortex during working memory and demonstrate that these areas alone cannot mediate working memory maintenance, particularly in the presence of distractors. We finally discuss the discrepancy between
Quinette, Peggy; Guillery, Bérengère; Desgranges, Béatrice; de la Sayette, Vincent; Viader, Fausto; Eustache, Francis
Transient global amnesia (TGA) is usually considered to produce a profound impairment of long-term episodic memory, while at the same time sparing working memory. However, this neuropsychological dissociation has rarely been examined in detail. While a few studies have assessed some components of working memory in TGA, the results that have been obtained are far from conclusive. To clarify this issue, we carried out a comprehensive investigation of working memory in 10 patients during a TGA attack. In the first study, we report the results from three patients examined with a battery of neuropsychological tests designed to assess each of the three subcomponents of Baddeley's model of working memory. In a second study, seven different patients underwent neuropsychological investigations that focused specifically on the central executive system, using a protocol derived from a study by Miyake and colleagues. Our findings showed that subcomponents of working memory, such as the phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketch pad, were spared in TGA patients. Specific executive functions that entailed inhibitory control, dual task performance, updating and shifting mechanisms were also found to be normal. However, we found significantly impaired performance for the Brown-Peterson test, and that TGA patients were significantly impaired in the recollection of their episodic memories. They also made reduced numbers of 'remember' compared with 'know' judgments in the episodic memory test several days after TGA. On the basis of our findings, it would appear that the episodic memory deficit during TGA is not related to elementary aspects of executive functioning. Our data also highlight the nature of the cognitive mechanisms involved in the Brown-Peterson task, which may well depend on long-term memory (such as the process of semantic encoding). Lastly, the selective deficit in recollective episodic memories observed in TGA may be principally related to medial temporal lobe
Hernández, Mireia; Costa, Albert; Humphreys, Glyn W
We ask whether bilingualism aids cognitive control over the inadvertent guidance of visual attention from working memory and from bottom-up cueing. We compare highly-proficient Catalan-Spanish bilinguals with Spanish monolinguals in three visual search conditions. In the working memory (WM) condition, attention was driven in a top-down fashion by irrelevant objects held in WM. In the Identify condition, attention was driven in a bottom-up fashion by visual priming. In the Singleton condition, attention was driven in a bottom-up fashion by including a unique distracting object in the search array. The results showed that bilinguals were overall faster than monolinguals in the three conditions, replicating previous findings that bilinguals can be more efficient than monolinguals in the deployment of attention. Interestingly, bilinguals were less captured by irrelevant information held in WM but were equally affected by visual priming and unique singletons in the search displays. These observations suggest that bilingualism aids top-down WM-mediated guidance of attention, facilitating processes that keep separate representations in WM from representations that guide visual attention. In contrast, bottom-up attentional capture by salient yet unrelated input operates similarly in bilinguals and monolinguals.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Traxler, Matthew J
An eye-movement-monitoring experiment tested readers' responses to sentences containing relative clauses that could be attached to one or both of two preceding nouns. Previous experiments with such sentences have indicated that globally ambiguous relative clauses are processed more quickly than are determinately attached relative clauses. Central to the present research, a recent study (Swets, Desmet, Hambrick, & Ferreira, 2007) showed that offline preferences for such sentences differ as a function of working memory capacity. Specifically, both English and Dutch participants' preference for the second of two nouns as the host for the relative clause increased as their working memory capacity increased. In the present study, readers' working memory capacity was measured, and eye movements were monitored. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine whether working memory capacity moderated readers' online processing performance. The modeling indicated that determinately attached sentences were harder to process than globally ambiguous sentences, that working memory did not affect processing of the relative clause itself, but that working memory did moderate how easy it was to integrate the relative clause with the preceding sentence context. Specifically, in contrast with the offline results from Swets and colleagues' study, readers with higher working memory capacity were more likely to prefer the first noun over the second noun as the host for the relative clause.
Santangelo, Valerio; Macaluso, Emiliano
Previous studies have indicated that increasing working memory (WM) load can affect the attentional selection of signals originating from one object/location. Here we assessed whether WM load affects also the selection of multiple objects/locations (divided attention). Participants monitored either two object-categories (vs. one category; object-based divided attention) or two locations (vs. one location; space-based divided attention) while maintaining in WM either a variable number of objects (object-based WM load) or locations (space-based WM load). Behavioural results showed that WM load affected attentional performance irrespective of divided or focused attention. However, fMRI results showed that the activity associated with object-based divided attention increased linearly with increasing object-based WM load in the left and right intraparietal sulcus (IPS); while, in the same areas, activity associated with space-based divided attention was not affected by any type of WM load. These findings support the hypothesis that WM contributes to the maintenance of resource-demanding attentional sets in a domain-specific manner. Moreover, the dissociable impact of WM load on performance and brain activity suggests that increased IPS activation reflects a recruitment of additional, domain-specific processing resources that enable dual-task performance under conditions of high WM load and high attentional demand.
Rieckmann, Anna; Pudas, Sara; Nyberg, Lars
Working memory (WM) entails maintenance and manipulation of information in the absence of sensory input. This study investigated the trajectories and neural basis of these component processes of WM functions in aging. Longitudinal human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data are presented from 136 older individuals (55-80 years) who were scanned at baseline and again 4 years later. We obtained evidence that age-related changes in parietal and frontal components of the WM core network are dissociable in terms of their role in maintenance of perceptual representations and further manipulation of this information, respectively. Individual difference analyses in performance subgroups showed that only prefrontal changes in fMRI activation were accompanied by changes in performance, but parietal brain activity was related to study dropout. We discuss the results in terms of possible neurobiological causes underlying separable aging-related declines in inferior parietal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex that differentially affect WM functions.
Abstract Working memory (WM) entails maintenance and manipulation of information in the absence of sensory input. This study investigated the trajectories and neural basis of these component processes of WM functions in aging. Longitudinal human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data are presented from 136 older individuals (55–80 years) who were scanned at baseline and again 4 years later. We obtained evidence that age-related changes in parietal and frontal components of the WM core network are dissociable in terms of their role in maintenance of perceptual representations and further manipulation of this information, respectively. Individual difference analyses in performance subgroups showed that only prefrontal changes in fMRI activation were accompanied by changes in performance, but parietal brain activity was related to study dropout. We discuss the results in terms of possible neurobiological causes underlying separable aging-related declines in inferior parietal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex that differentially affect WM functions. PMID:28374009
de Fockert, Jan W.; Bremner, Andrew J.
An unexpected stimulus often remains unnoticed if attention is focused elsewhere. This inattentional blindness has been shown to be increased under conditions of high memory load. Here we show that increasing working memory load can also have the opposite effect of reducing inattentional blindness (i.e., improving stimulus detection) if stimulus…
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan Elizabeth
Working memory skills have been shown to be enhanced by adaptive training in several randomised controlled trials. Here, two field trials were conducted in which teachers administered working memory training to their own pupils in school. Twenty-two children aged 8–9 years participated in Trial 1. In Trial 2, 50 children aged 9–11 years with the lowest academic performance completed training. They were matched with a group of 50 children who were not trained. Following training, children in Trial 1 improved significantly in both trained and untrained working memory tasks, with effect sizes comparable to those reported in research studies. Improvements on the trained tasks in Trial 2 were comparable, and training was associated with significantly greater progress at school across the academic year in maths and English. These findings indicate that teacher-administered training leads to generalised and robust gains in working memory and educationally significant gains in academic performance. PMID:26494933
Morey, Candice C; Elliott, Emily M; Wiggers, Jody; Eaves, Sharon D; Shelton, Jill T; Mall, Jonathan T
Relationships between Stroop interference and working memory capacity may reflect individual differences in resolving conflict, susceptibility to goal neglect, or both of these factors. We compared relationships between working memory capacity and three Stroop tasks: a classic, printed color-word Stroop task, a cross-modal Stroop, and a new version of cross-modal Stroop with a concurrent auditory monitoring component. Each of these tasks showed evidence of interference between the semantic meaning of the color word and the to-be-named color, suggesting these tasks each require resolution of interference. However, only Stroop interference in the print-based task with high proportions of congruent trials correlated significantly with working memory capacity. This evidence suggests that the relationships observed between Stroop interference and working memory capacity are primarily driven by individual differences in the propensity to actively maintain a goal.
Dalton, Polly; Lavie, Nilli; Spence, Charles
Load theory suggests that working memory controls the extent to which irrelevant distractors are processed (e.g., Lavie, Hirst, De Fockert, & Viding, 2004). However, so far this proposal has only been tested in vision. Here, we examine the extent to which tactile selective attention also depends on working memory. In Experiment 1, participants focused their attention on continuous target vibrations while attempting to ignore pulsed distractor vibrations. In Experiment 2, targets were always presented to a particular hand, with distractors being presented to the other hand. In both experiments, a high (vs. low) load in a concurrent working memory task led to greater interference by the tactile distractors. These results establish the role of working memory in the control of tactile selective attention, demonstrating for the first time that the principles of load theory also apply to the tactile modality.
Rahm, Benjamin; Kaiser, Jochen; Unterrainer, Josef M; Simon, Juliane; Bledowski, Christoph
Encoding and maintenance of information in visual working memory have been extensively studied, highlighting the crucial and capacity-limiting role of fronto-parietal regions. In contrast, the neural basis of recognition in visual working memory has remained largely unspecified. Cognitive models suggest that recognition relies on a matching process that compares sensory information with the mental representations held in memory. To characterize the neural basis of recognition we varied both the need for recognition and the degree of similarity between the probe item and the memory contents, while independently manipulating memory load to produce load-related fronto-parietal activations. fMRI revealed a fractionation of working memory functions across four distributed networks. First, fronto-parietal regions were activated independent of the need for recognition. Second, anterior parts of load-related parietal regions contributed to recognition but their activations were independent of the difficulty of matching in terms of sample-probe similarity. These results argue against a key role of the fronto-parietal attention network in recognition. Rather the third group of regions including bilateral temporo-parietal junction, posterior cingulate cortex and superior frontal sulcus reflected demands on matching both in terms of sample-probe-similarity and the number of items to be compared. Also, fourth, bilateral motor regions and right superior parietal cortex showed higher activation when matching provided clear evidence for a decision. Together, the segregation between the well-known fronto-parietal activations attributed to attentional operations in working memory from those regions involved in matching supports the theoretical view of separable attentional and mnemonic contributions to working memory. Yet, the close theoretical and empirical correspondence to perceptual decision making may call for an explicit consideration of decision making mechanisms in
Hussaini, Syed Abid; Bogusch, Lisa; Landgraf, Tim; Menzel, Randolf
Sleep-like behavior has been studied in honeybees before, but the relationship between sleep and memory formation has not been explored. Here we describe a new approach to address the question if sleep in bees, like in other animals, improves memory consolidation. Restrained bees were observed by a web camera, and their antennal activities were used as indicators of sleep. We found that the bees sleep more during the dark phase of the day compared with the light phase. Sleep phases were characterized by two distinct patterns of antennal activities: symmetrical activity, more prominent during the dark phase; and asymmetrical activity, more common during the light phase. Sleep-deprived bees showed rebound the following day, confirming effective deprivation of sleep. After appetitive conditioning of the bees to various olfactory stimuli, we observed their sleep. Bees conditioned to odor with sugar reward showed lesser sleep compared with bees that were exposed to either reward alone or air alone. Next, we asked whether sleep deprivation affects memory consolidation. While sleep deprivation had no effect on retention scores after odor acquisition, retention for extinction learning was significantly reduced, indicating that consolidation of extinction memory but not acquisition memory was affected by sleep deprivation.
Uresti-Cabrera, Luis A.; Diaz, Rosalinda; Vaca-Palomares, Israel; Fernandez-Ruiz, Juan
Objective. To evaluate the effect of age-related cognitive changes in a visuomotor learning task that depends on strategic control and contrast it with the effect in a task principally depending on visuomotor recalibration. Methods. Participants performed a ball throwing task while donning either a reversing dove prism or a displacement wedge prism, which mainly depend on strategic control or visuomotor recalibration, respectively. Visuomotor performance was then analysed in relation to rule acquisition and reversal, recognition memory, visual memory, spatial planning, and spatial working memory with tasks from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Results. The results confirmed previous works showing a detrimental effect of age on visuomotor learning. The analyses of the cognitive changes observed across age showed that both strategic control and visuomotor recalibration had significant negative correlations only with the number of errors in the spatial working memory task. However, when the effect of aging was controlled, the only significant correlation remaining was between the reversal adaptation magnitude and spatial working memory. Discussion. These results suggest that spatial working memory decline across aging could contribute to age-dependent deterioration in both visuomotor learning processes. However, spatial working memory integrity seems to affect strategic learning decline even after controlling for aging. PMID:26290623
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
Levi, Susannah V.
The current study explores the question of how an auditory category is learned by having school-age listeners learn to categorize speech not in terms of linguistic categories, but instead in terms of talker categories (i.e., who is talking). Findings from visual-category learning indicate that working memory skills affect learning, but the literature is equivocal: sometimes better working memory is advantageous, and sometimes not. The current study examined the role of different components of working memory to test which component skills benefit, and which hinder, learning talker categories. Results revealed that the short-term storage component positively predicted learning, but that the Central Executive and Episodic Buffer negatively predicted learning. As with visual categories, better working memory is not always an advantage. PMID:25721393
Hubbard, Kurt K; Blyler, Diane
Research involving working memory has indicated that stress and anxiety compete for attentional resources when a person engages in attention-dependent cognitive processing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of perceived stress and state anxiety on working memory and academic performance among health science students and to explore whether the reduction of stress and anxiety was achieved through progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) training. A convenience sample of 128 graduate students participated in this study. Using an experimental pretest-posttest design, we randomly assigned participants to a PMR group or a control group. Results indicated that PMR reduced state anxiety, F(1, 126) = 15.58, p < .001, thereby freeing up working memory and leading to improved academic performance in the treatment group. The results of this study contribute to the literature on Attentional Control Theory by clarifying the process through which working memory and anxiety affect cognitive performance.
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
Lee, Clara S C; Pei, Jacqueline; Andrew, Gail; A Kerns, Kimberly; Rasmussen, Carmen
Researchers have reported benefits of working memory training in various populations, however, the training gains in preterm population is still inadequately studied. This study aimed to investigate the transfer and lasting effects of an online working memory training program on a group of preterm children aged between 4 and 6 years (mean gestational age = 28.3 weeks; mean birth weight = 1153 grams). Children were asked to perform the Cogmed JM at home for approximately 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Their nontrained working memory and attention were assessed pre-training, post-training, and at 5-week follow-up. Parent ratings on children's executive functions were obtained at the three time points. Results revealed that significant improvements in verbal working memory was emerging in preterm children at 5-week follow-up, while significant gains in visuospatial working memory was found post-training and at 5-week follow-up in age-matched term-born children. These results indicated that working memory training has benefits on preterm children; however, the gains are different from those observed in term-born children. No significant differences in attention and parent-rated EF were found in either group across time. The possible explanations for the training benefits observed in preterm children were discussed.
When stimuli compete for sensory processing and response selection, coherent goal-guided behavior requires cognitive control so that task-relevant “targets” rather than irrelevant distractors are selected. It has been shown that reduced cognitive control under high working memory load increases distractor competition for selection. It remains unknown, though, whether cognitive control by working memory has an effect on the earliest levels of sensory processing in primary visual cortex. The present study addressed this question by having subjects perform a selective attention task involving classification of meaningful target objects while also ignoring congruent and incongruent distractor images. The level of cognitive control over distractor competition was varied through a concurrent working memory task of either low (1 digit) or high (6 digits) load. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater distractor competition effects not only on behavior but also on the sensory correlates in primary visual cortex (areas V1–V2) in conditions of high (vs. low) working memory load. In addition, high working memory load resulted in increased congruency-related functional connectivity between anterior cingulate cortex and V1. These results are the first to establish the neural correlates of distractor competition effects in primary visual cortex and the critical role of working memory in their cognitive control. PMID:20699229
Brooks, David W.; Shell, Duane F.
Working memory is where we "think" as we learn. A notion that emerges as a synthesis from several threads in the research literatures of cognition, motivation, and connectionism is that motivation in learning is the process whereby working memory resource allocation is instigated and sustained. This paper reviews much literature on motivation and working memory, and concludes that the apparent novelty of the proposal offered to describe motivation in terms of working memory results from the apparent lack of cross-channel exchange among these research traditions. The relation between working memory and motivation is explored in the context of the interactive compensatory model of learning (ICML) in which learning is considered to result from the interaction of ability, motivation, and prior learning. The ICML is recast in light of the revised definition of motivation offered here. This paper goes on to suggest ways in which a range of teaching and learning issues and activities may be reconceptualized in the context of a model emphasizing a learner's working memory that makes use of chunks of previously acquired knowledge.
Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Hampton, Robert R.
Cognitive control is critical for efficiently using the limited resources in working memory. It is well established that humans use rehearsal to increase the probability of remembering needed information, but little is known in nonhumans, with some studies reporting the absence of active control and others subject to alternative explanations. We trained monkeys in a visual matching-to-sample paradigm with a post-sample memory cue. Monkeys either saw a remember cue that predicted the occurrence of a matching test that required memory for the sample, or a forget cue that predicted a discrimination test that did not require memory of the sample. Infrequent probe trials on which monkeys were given tests of the type not cued on that trial were used to assess whether memory was under cognitive control. Our procedures controlled for reward expectation and for the surprising nature of the probes. Monkeys matched less accurately after forget cues, while discrimination accuracy was equivalent in the two cue conditions. We also tested monkeys with lists of two consecutive sample images that shared the same cue. Again, memory for expected memory tests was superior to that on unexpected tests. Together these results show that monkeys cognitively control their working memory. PMID:25436219
Schneegans, Sebastian; Spencer, John P.; Schöner, Gregor; Hwang, Seongmin; Hollingworth, Andrew
Recent psychophysical experiments have shown that working memory for visual surface features interacts with saccadic motor planning, even in tasks where the saccade target is unambiguously specified by spatial cues. Specifically, a match between a memorized color and the color of either the designated target or a distractor stimulus influences saccade target selection, saccade amplitudes, and latencies in a systematic fashion. To elucidate these effects, we present a dynamic neural field model in combination with new experimental data. The model captures the neural processes underlying visual perception, working memory, and saccade planning relevant to the psychophysical experiment. It consists of a low-level visual sensory representation that interacts with two separate pathways: a spatial pathway implementing spatial attention and saccade generation, and a surface feature pathway implementing color working memory and feature attention. Due to bidirectional coupling between visual working memory and feature attention in the model, the working memory content can indirectly exert an effect on perceptual processing in the low-level sensory representation. This in turn biases saccadic movement planning in the spatial pathway, allowing the model to quantitatively reproduce the observed interaction effects. The continuous coupling between representations in the model also implies that modulation should be bidirectional, and model simulations provide specific predictions for complementary effects of saccade target selection on visual working memory. These predictions were empirically confirmed in a new experiment: Memory for a sample color was biased toward the color of a task-irrelevant saccade target object, demonstrating the bidirectional coupling between visual working memory and perceptual processing. PMID:25228628
Zhu, Siying; Henninger, Keely; McGrath, Barbara C; Cavener, Douglas R
PERK (EIF2AK3) is an ER-resident eIF2α kinase required for memory flexibility and metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent long-term depression, processes known to be dependent on new protein synthesis. Here we investigated PERK's role in working memory, a cognitive ability that is independent of new protein synthesis, but instead is dependent on cellular Ca2+ dynamics. We found that working memory is impaired in forebrain-specific Perk knockout and pharmacologically PERK-inhibited mice. Moreover, inhibition of PERK in wild-type mice mimics the fear extinction impairment observed in forebrain-specific Perk knockout mice. Our findings reveal a novel role of PERK in cognitive functions and suggest that PERK regulates both Ca2+ -dependent working memory and protein synthesis-dependent memory flexibility.
Cai, Zhenguang G; Wang, Ruiming
Previous research has suggested that the perception of time is influenced by concurrent magnitude information (e.g., numerical magnitude in digits, spatial distance), but the locus of the effect is unclear, with some findings suggesting that concurrent magnitudes such as space affect temporal memories and others suggesting that numerical magnitudes in digits affect the clock speed during time encoding. The current paper reports 6 experiments in which participants perceived a stimulus duration and then reproduced it. We showed that though a digit of a large magnitude (e.g., 9), relative to a digit of a small magnitude (e.g., 2), led to a longer reproduced duration when the digits were presented during the perception of the stimulus duration, such a magnitude effect disappeared when the digits were presented during the reproduction of the stimulus duration. These findings disconfirm the account that large numerical magnitudes accelerate the speed of an internal clock during time encoding, as such an account incorrectly predicts that a large numerical magnitude should lead to a shorter reproduced duration when presented during reproduction. Instead, the findings suggest that numerical magnitudes, like other magnitudes such as space, affect temporal memories when numerical magnitudes and temporal durations are concurrently held in memory. Under this account, concurrent numerical magnitudes have the chance to influence the memory of the perceived duration when they are presented during perception but not when they are presented at the reproduction stage.
Salazar, RF; Dotson, NM; Bressler, SL; Gray, CM
Lateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortical areas exhibit task-dependent activation during working memory tasks in humans and monkeys. Neurons in these regions become synchronized during attention demanding tasks, but the contribution of these interactions to working memory is largely unknown. Using simultaneous recordings of neural activity from multiple areas in both regions, we find widespread, task-dependent and content specific synchronization of activity across the fronto-parietal network during visual working memory. The patterns of synchronization are prevalent among stimulus selective neurons and are governed by influences arising in parietal cortex. These results indicate that short-term memories are represented by large-scale patterns of synchronized activity across the fronto-parietal network. PMID:23118014
Spillers, Gregory J.; Unsworth, Nash
Unsworth and Engle (2007) recently proposed a model of working memory capacity characterized by, among other things, the ability to conduct a strategic, cue-dependent search of long-term memory. Although this ability has been found to mediate individual variation in a number of higher order cognitive tasks, the component processes involved remain…
Kensinger, Elizabeth A
As adults age, they tend to have problems remembering the details of events and the contexts in which events occurred. This review presents evidence that emotion can enhance older adults' abilities to remember episodic detail. Older adults are more likely to remember affective details of an event (e.g., whether something was good or bad, or how an event made them feel) than they are to remember non-affective details, and they remember more details of emotional events than of non-emotional ones. Moreover, in some instances, emotion appears to narrow the age gap in memory performance. It may be that memory for affective context, or for emotional events, relies on cognitive and neural processes that are relatively preserved in older adults.
This article addresses the question of how far working memory may affect second language (L2) learners' improvement in spoken language during a period of immersion. Research is presented testing the hypothesis that individual differences in working memory (WM) capacity are associated with individual variation in improvements in oral production of…
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.
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
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…
De Loof, Esther; Poppe, Louise; Cleeremans, Axel; Gevers, Wim; Van Opstal, Filip
Consciousness and working memory are two widely studied cognitive phenomena. Although they have been closely tied on a theoretical and neural level, empirical work that investigates their relation is largely lacking. In this study, the relationship between visual consciousness and different working memory components is investigated by using a dual-task paradigm. More specifically, while participants were performing a visual detection task to measure their visual awareness threshold, they had to concurrently perform either an executive or visuospatial working memory task. We hypothesized that visual consciousness would be hindered depending on the type and the size of the load in working memory. Results showed that maintaining visuospatial content in working memory hinders visual awareness, irrespective of the amount of information maintained. By contrast, the detection threshold was progressively affected under increasing executive load. Interestingly, increasing executive load had a generic effect on detection speed, calling into question whether its obstructing effect is specific to the visual awareness threshold. Together, these results indicate that visual consciousness depends differently on executive and visuospatial working memory.
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
Granot, Roni Y; Uzefovsky, Florina; Bogopolsky, Helena; Ebstein, Richard P
Previous genetic studies showed an association between variations in the gene coding for the 1a receptor of the neuro-hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) and musical working memory (WM). The current study set out to test the influence of intranasal administration (INA) of AVP on musical as compared to verbal WM using a double blind crossover (AVP-placebo) design. Two groups of 25 males were exposed to 20 IU of AVP in one session, and 20 IU of saline water (placebo) in a second session, 1 week apart. In each session subjects completed the tonal subtest from Gordon's "Musical Aptitude Profile," the interval subtest from the "Montreal Battery for Evaluation of Amusias (MBEA)," and the forward and backward digit span tests. Scores in the digit span tests were not influenced by AVP. In contrast, in the music tests there was an AVP effect. In the MBEA test, scores for the group receiving placebo in the first session (PV) were higher than for the group receiving vasopressin in the first session (VP) (p < 0.05) with no main Session effect nor Group × Session interaction. In the Gordon test there was a main Session effect (p < 0.05) with scores higher in the second as compared to the first session, a marginal main Group effect (p = 0.093) and a marginal Group × Session interaction (p = 0.88). In addition we found that the group that received AVP in the first session scored higher on scales indicative of happiness, and alertness on the positive and negative affect scale, (PANAS). Only in this group and only in the music test these scores were significantly correlated with memory scores. Together the results reflect a complex interaction between AVP, musical memory, arousal, and contextual effects such as session, and base levels of memory. The results are interpreted in light of music's universal use as a means to modulate arousal on the one hand, and AVP's influence on mood, arousal, and social interactions on the other.
Granot, Roni Y.; Uzefovsky, Florina; Bogopolsky, Helena; Ebstein, Richard P.
Previous genetic studies showed an association between variations in the gene coding for the 1a receptor of the neuro-hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) and musical working memory (WM). The current study set out to test the influence of intranasal administration (INA) of AVP on musical as compared to verbal WM using a double blind crossover (AVP—placebo) design. Two groups of 25 males were exposed to 20 IU of AVP in one session, and 20 IU of saline water (placebo) in a second session, 1 week apart. In each session subjects completed the tonal subtest from Gordon's “Musical Aptitude Profile,” the interval subtest from the “Montreal Battery for Evaluation of Amusias (MBEA),” and the forward and backward digit span tests. Scores in the digit span tests were not influenced by AVP. In contrast, in the music tests there was an AVP effect. In the MBEA test, scores for the group receiving placebo in the first session (PV) were higher than for the group receiving vasopressin in the first session (VP) (p < 0.05) with no main Session effect nor Group × Session interaction. In the Gordon test there was a main Session effect (p < 0.05) with scores higher in the second as compared to the first session, a marginal main Group effect (p = 0.093) and a marginal Group × Session interaction (p = 0.88). In addition we found that the group that received AVP in the first session scored higher on scales indicative of happiness, and alertness on the positive and negative affect scale, (PANAS). Only in this group and only in the music test these scores were significantly correlated with memory scores. Together the results reflect a complex interaction between AVP, musical memory, arousal, and contextual effects such as session, and base levels of memory. The results are interpreted in light of music's universal use as a means to modulate arousal on the one hand, and AVP's influence on mood, arousal, and social interactions on the other. PMID:24151474
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.
Greene, Ciara M.; Bahri, Pooja; Soto, David
Background Emotional states linked to arousal and mood are known to affect the efficiency of cognitive performance. However, the extent to which memory processes may be affected by arousal, mood or their interaction is poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Findings Following a study phase of abstract shapes, we altered the emotional state of participants by means of exposure to music that varied in both mood and arousal dimensions, leading to four different emotional states: (i) positive mood-high arousal; (ii) positive mood-low arousal; (iii) negative mood-high arousal; (iv) negative mood-low arousal. Following the emotional induction, participants performed a memory recognition test. Critically, there was an interaction between mood and arousal on recognition performance. Memory was enhanced in the positive mood-high arousal and in the negative mood-low arousal states, relative to the other emotional conditions. Conclusions/Significance Neither mood nor arousal alone but their interaction appears most critical to understanding the emotional enhancement of memory. PMID:20668532
Conway, Andrew R. A.; Cowan, Nelsin; Bunting, Michael F.; Therriault, David J.; Minkoff, Scott R. B.
Studied the interrelationships among general fluid intelligence, short-term memory capacity, working memory capacity, and processing speed in 120 young adults and used structural equation modeling to determine the best predictor of general fluid intelligence. Results suggest that working memory capacity, but not short-term memory capacity or…
Bays, Paul M
Errors in short-term memory increase with the quantity of information stored, limiting the complexity of cognition and behavior. In visual memory, attempts to account for errors in terms of allocation of a limited pool of working memory resources have met with some success, but the biological basis for this cognitive architecture is unclear. An alternative perspective attributes recall errors to noise in tuned populations of neurons that encode stimulus features in spiking activity. I show that errors associated with decreasing signal strength in probabilistically spiking neurons reproduce the pattern of failures in human recall under increasing memory load. In particular, deviations from the normal distribution that are characteristic of working memory errors and have been attributed previously to guesses or variability in precision are shown to arise as a natural consequence of decoding populations of tuned neurons. Observers possess fine control over memory representations and prioritize accurate storage of behaviorally relevant information, at a cost to lower priority stimuli. I show that changing the input drive to neurons encoding a prioritized stimulus biases population activity in a manner that reproduces this empirical tradeoff in memory precision. In a task in which predictive cues indicate stimuli most probable for test, human observers use the cues in an optimal manner to maximize performance, within the constraints imposed by neural noise.
Lewis, Richard L.; Vasishth, Shravan; Van Dyke, Julie A.
Understanding a sentence requires a working memory of the partial products of comprehension, so that linguistic relations between temporally distal parts of the sentence can be rapidly computed. We describe an emerging theoretical framework for this working memory system that incorporates several independently motivated principles of memory: a sharply limited attentional focus, rapid retrieval of item (but not order) information subject to interference from similar items, and activation decay (forgetting over time). A computational model embodying these principles provides an explanation of the functional capacities and severe limitations of human processing, as well as accounts of reading times. The broad implication is that the detailed nature of crosslinguistic sentence processing emerges from the interaction of general principles of human memory with the specialized task of language comprehension. PMID:16949330
Karbach, Julia; Verhaeghen, Paul
This meta-analysis examined the effects of process-based executive-function and working memory training (49 articles, 61 independent samples) in older adults (> 60 years). The interventions resulted in significant effects on performance on the trained task and near-transfer tasks; significant results were obtained for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to active and passive control groups and for the net effect at posttest relative to active and passive control groups. Far-transfer effects were smaller than near-transfer effects but were significant for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to passive control groups and for the net gain at posttest relative to both active and passive control groups. We detected marginally significant differences in training-induced improvements between working memory and executive-function training, but no differences between the training-induced improvements observed in older adults and younger adults, between the benefits associated with adaptive and nonadaptive training, or between the effects in active and passive control conditions. Gains did not vary with total training time.
Brunault, Paul; Fouquereau, Evelyne; Colombat, Philippe; Gillet, Nicolas; El-Hage, Wissam; Camus, Vincent; Gaillard, Philippe
Improvement in nurses' quality of work life (QWL) has become a major issue in health care organizations. We hypothesized that the level of transactive memory (defined as the way groups collectively encode, store, and retrieve knowledge) and participative teamwork (an organizational model of care based on vocational training, a specific service's care project, and regular interdisciplinary staffing) positively affect nurses' QWL. This cross-sectional study enrolled 84 ward-based psychiatric nurses. We assessed transactive memory, participative teamwork, perceived organizational justice, perceived organizational support, and QWL using psychometrically reliable and valid scales. Participative teamwork and transactive memory were positively associated with nurses' QWL. Perceived organizational support and organizational justice fully mediated the relationship between participative teamwork and QWL, but not between transactive memory and QWL. Improved transactive memory could directly improve nurses' QWL. Improved participative teamwork could improve nurses' QWL through better perceived organizational support and perceived organizational justice.
Sewell, David K; Lilburn, Simon D; Smith, Philip L
A central question in working memory research concerns the degree to which information in working memory is accessible to other cognitive processes (e.g., decision-making). Theories assuming that the focus of attention can only store a single object at a time require the focus to orient to a target representation before further processing can occur. The need to orient the focus of attention implies that single-object accounts typically predict response time costs associated with object selection even when working memory is not full (i.e., memory load is less than 4 items). For other theories that assume storage of multiple items in the focus of attention, predictions depend on specific assumptions about the way resources are allocated among items held in the focus, and how this affects the time course of retrieval of items from the focus. These broad theoretical accounts have been difficult to distinguish because conventional analyses fail to separate components of empirical response times related to decision-making from components related to selection and retrieval processes associated with accessing information in working memory. To better distinguish these response time components from one another, we analyze data from a probed visual working memory task using extensions of the diffusion decision model. Analysis of model parameters revealed that increases in memory load resulted in (a) reductions in the quality of the underlying stimulus representations in a manner consistent with a sample size model of visual working memory capacity and (b) systematic increases in the time needed to selectively access a probed representation in memory. The results are consistent with single-object theories of the focus of attention. The results are also consistent with a subset of theories that assume a multiobject focus of attention in which resource allocation diminishes both the quality and accessibility of the underlying representations. (PsycINFO Database Record
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
Smith, Matthew J; Horan, William P; Cobia, Derin J; Karpouzian, Tatiana M; Fox, Jaclyn M; Reilly, James L; Breiter, Hans C
Empathic deficits have been linked to poor functioning in schizophrenia, but this work is mostly limited to self-report data. This study examined whether performance-based empathy measures account for incremental variance in social competence and social attainment above and beyond self-reported empathy, neurocognition, and clinical symptoms. Given the importance of working memory in theoretical models of empathy and in the prediction of functioning in schizophrenia, we also examined whether empathy mediates the relationship between working memory and functioning. Sixty outpatients and 45 healthy controls were compared on performance-based measures of 3 key components of empathic responding, including facial affect perception, emotional empathy (affective responsiveness), and cognitive empathy (emotional perspective-taking). Participants also completed measures of self-reported empathy, neurocognition, clinical symptoms, and social competence and attainment. Patients demonstrated lower accuracy than controls across the 3 performance-based empathy measures. Among patients, these measures showed minimal relations to self-reported empathy but significantly correlated with working memory and other neurocognitive functions as well as symptom levels. Furthermore, cognitive empathy explained significant incremental variance in social competence (∆R (2) = .07, P < .05) and was found to mediate the relation between working memory and social competence. Performance-based measures of empathy were sensitive to functionally relevant disturbances in schizophrenia. Working memory deficits appear to have an important effect on these disruptions in empathy. Empathy is emerging as a promising new area for social cognitive research and for novel recovery-oriented treatment development.
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.
Cunningham, Tony J; Chambers, Alexis M; Payne, Jessica D
Successful prospective memory is necessarily driven by an expectation that encoded information will be relevant in the future, leading to its preferential placement in memory storage. Like expectation, emotional salience is another type of cue that benefits human memory formation. Although separate lines of research suggest that both emotional information and information explicitly expected to be important in the future benefit memory consolidation, it is unknown how expectation affects the processing of emotional information and whether sleep, which is known to maximize memory consolidation, plays a critical role. The purpose of this study was to investigate how expectation would impact the consolidation of emotionally salient content, and whether this impact would differ across delays of sleep and wake. Participants encoded scenes containing an emotionally charged negative or neutral foreground object placed on a plausible neutral background. After encoding, half of the participants were informed they would later be tested on the scenes (expected condition), while the other half received no information about the test (unexpected condition). At recognition, following a 12-h delay of sleep or wakefulness, the scene components (objects and backgrounds) were presented separately and one at a time, and participants were asked to determine if each component was old or new. Results revealed a greater disparity for memory of negative objects over their paired neutral backgrounds for both the sleep and wake groups when the memory test was expected compared to when it was unexpected, while neutral memory remained unchanged. Analyzing each group separately, the wake group showed a threefold increase in the magnitude of this object/background trade-off for emotional scenes when the memory test was expected compared to when it was unexpected, while those who slept performed similarly across conditions. These results suggest that emotional salience and expectation cues
Thompson, Todd W; Waskom, Michael L; Garel, Keri-Lee A; Cardenas-Iniguez, Carlos; Reynolds, Gretchen O; Winter, Rebecca; Chang, Patricia; Pollard, Kiersten; Lala, Nupur; Alvarez, George A; Gabrieli, John D E
Fluid intelligence is important for successful functioning in the modern world, but much evidence suggests that fluid intelligence is largely immutable after childhood. Recently, however, researchers have reported gains in fluid intelligence after multiple sessions of adaptive working memory training in adults. The current study attempted to replicate and expand those results by administering a broad assessment of cognitive abilities and personality traits to young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive dual n-back working memory training program and comparing their post-training performance on those tests to a matched set of young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive attentional tracking program. Pre- and post-training measurements of fluid intelligence, standardized intelligence tests, speed of processing, reading skills, and other tests of working memory were assessed. Both training groups exhibited substantial and specific improvements on the trained tasks that persisted for at least 6 months post-training, but no transfer of improvement was observed to any of the non-trained measurements when compared to a third untrained group serving as a passive control. These findings fail to support the idea that adaptive working memory training in healthy young adults enhances working memory capacity in non-trained tasks, fluid intelligence, or other measures of cognitive abilities.
Thompson, Todd W.; Waskom, Michael L.; Garel, Keri-Lee A.; Cardenas-Iniguez, Carlos; Reynolds, Gretchen O.; Winter, Rebecca; Chang, Patricia; Pollard, Kiersten; Lala, Nupur; Alvarez, George A.; Gabrieli, John D. E.
Fluid intelligence is important for successful functioning in the modern world, but much evidence suggests that fluid intelligence is largely immutable after childhood. Recently, however, researchers have reported gains in fluid intelligence after multiple sessions of adaptive working memory training in adults. The current study attempted to replicate and expand those results by administering a broad assessment of cognitive abilities and personality traits to young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive dual n-back working memory training program and comparing their post-training performance on those tests to a matched set of young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive attentional tracking program. Pre- and post-training measurements of fluid intelligence, standardized intelligence tests, speed of processing, reading skills, and other tests of working memory were assessed. Both training groups exhibited substantial and specific improvements on the trained tasks that persisted for at least 6 months post-training, but no transfer of improvement was observed to any of the non-trained measurements when compared to a third untrained group serving as a passive control. These findings fail to support the idea that adaptive working memory training in healthy young adults enhances working memory capacity in non-trained tasks, fluid intelligence, or other measures of cognitive abilities. PMID:23717453
Shipstead, Zach; Harrison, Tyler L; Engle, Randall W
Working memory capacity and fluid intelligence have been demonstrated to be strongly correlated traits. Typically, high working memory capacity is believed to facilitate reasoning through accurate maintenance of relevant information. In this article, we present a proposal reframing this issue, such that tests of working memory capacity and fluid intelligence are seen as measuring complementary processes that facilitate complex cognition. Respectively, these are the ability to maintain access to critical information and the ability to disengage from or block outdated information. In the realm of problem solving, high working memory capacity allows a person to represent and maintain a problem accurately and stably, so that hypothesis testing can be conducted. However, as hypotheses are disproven or become untenable, disengaging from outdated problem solving attempts becomes important so that new hypotheses can be generated and tested. From this perspective, the strong correlation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence is due not to one ability having a causal influence on the other but to separate attention-demanding mental functions that can be contrary to one another but are organized around top-down processing goals.
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…
Baartman, Jantiene; Garcia Mayor, Angeles; Temme, Arnaud; Rietkerk, Max
Dryland ecosystems are water-limited and therefore vegetation typically forms banded or patchy patterns with high vegetation cover, interspersed with bare soil areas. In these systems, a runoff-runon system is often observed with bare areas acting as sources and vegetation patches acting as sinks of water, sediment and other transported substances. These fragile ecosystems are easily disturbed by overgrazing, removing above-ground vegetation. To avoid desertification, vegetation recovery after a disturbance is crucial. This poster discusses the potential of 'landscape memory' to affect the vegetation recovery potential. Landscape memory, originating in geomorphology, is the concept that a landscape is the result of its past history, which it 'remembers' through imprints left in the landscape. For example, a past heavy rainstorm may leave an erosion gully. These imprints affect the landscape's contemporary functioning, for example through faster removal of water from the landscape. In dryland ecosystems vegetation is known to affect the soil properties of the soil they grow in, e.g. increasing porosity, infiltration, organic matter content and soil structure. After a disturbance of the banded ecosystem, e.g. by overgrazing, this pattern of soil properties - favourable for regrowth, stays in the landscape. However, removal of the above-ground vegetation also leads to longer runoff pathways and increased rill and gully erosion, which may hamper vegetation regrowth. I hypothesize that vegetation recovery after a disturbance, depends on the balance between these two contrasting types of landscape memory (i.e. favourable soil properties and erosion rills/gullies).
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.
Lau, Esther Yuet Ying; Wong, Mark Lawrence; Lau, Kristy Nga Ting; Hui, Florence Wai Ying; Tseng, Chia-huei
The main objective was to study the impact of a daytime sleep opportunity on working memory and the mechanism behind such impact. This study adopted an experimental design in a sleep research laboratory. Eighty healthy college students (Age:17-23, 36 males) were randomized to either have a polysomnography-monitored daytime sleep opportunity (Nap-group, n=40) or stay awake (Wake-group, n=40) between the two assessment sessions. All participants completed a sleep diary and wore an actigraph-watch for 5 days before and one day after the assessment sessions. They completed the state-measurement of sleepiness and affect, in addition to a psychomotor vigilance test and a working memory task before and after the nap/wake sessions. The two groups did not differ in their sleep characteristics prior to and after the lab visit. The Nap-group had higher accuracy on the working memory task, fewer lapses on the psychomotor vigilance test and lower state-sleepiness than the Wake-group. Within the Nap-group, working memory accuracy was positively correlated with duration of rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and total sleep time during the nap. Our findings suggested that "sleep gain" during a daytime sleep opportunity had significant positive impact on working memory performance, without affecting subsequent nighttime sleep in young adult, and such impact was associated with the duration of REM. While REM abnormality has long been noted in pathological conditions (e.g. depression), which are also presented with cognitive dysfunctions (e.g. working memory deficits), this was the first evidence showing working memory enhancement associated with REM in daytime napping in college students, who likely had habitual short sleep duration but were otherwise generally healthy.
Genetic moderation of the effects of cannabis: catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) affects the impact of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on working memory performance but not on the occurrence of psychotic experiences.
Tunbridge, Elizabeth M; Dunn, Graham; Murray, Robin M; Evans, Nicole; Lister, Rachel; Stumpenhorst, Katharina; Harrison, Paul J; Morrison, Paul D; Freeman, Daniel
Cannabis use can induce cognitive impairments and psychotic experiences. A functional polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val(158)Met) appears to influence the immediate cognitive and psychotic effects of cannabis, or ∆(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its primary psychoactive ingredient. This study investigated the moderation of the impact of experimentally administered THC by COMT. Cognitive performance and psychotic experiences were studied in participants without a psychiatric diagnosis, using a between-subjects design (THC vs. placebo). The effect of COMT Val(158)Met genotype on the cognitive and psychotic effects of THC, administered intravenously in a double-blind, placebo-controlled manner to 78 participants who were vulnerable to paranoia, was examined. The results showed interactive effects of genotype and drug group (THC or placebo) on working memory, assayed using the Digit Span Backwards task. Specifically, THC impaired performance in COMT Val/Val, but not Met, carriers. In contrast, the effect of THC on psychotic experiences, measured using the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE) positive dimension, was unaffected by COMT genotype. This study is the largest to date examining the impact of COMT genotype on response to experimentally administered THC, and the first using a purely non-clinical cohort. The data suggest that COMT genotype moderates the cognitive, but not the psychotic, effects of acutely administered THC.
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
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Della Sala, S; Logie, R H; Marchetti, C; Wynn, V
Patterns of cognitive deficit in single neuropsychological cases are common sources of evidence for theories of normal cognition. In particular, the working memory model has benefited from data obtained from a number of contrasting patients, in some cases resulting in modifications of the working memory model. In this paper, patterns of data from short-term memory patients and anarthric patients are compared with patterns of data from normal subjects. The patterns of patient data that were unlike those patterns typically found for groups of normal subjects, could be incorporated within a modified version of the articulatory loop component of the working memory model. However a small number of individual normal subjects also did not show the pattern that is reported on the basis of average performance of groups of normal subjects. This causes some difficulty in interpreting those data from such 'aberrant normal' patterns, and those data from single patients with functional cognitive deficits. The implications of these findings for the interpretation of neuropsychological data are discussed in the context of the working memory model, but with the intention of making a general point pertaining to the development of functional models of cognition. It is argued that single case studies should continue to provide a useful source of evidence, providing that care is exercised in considering the implications of such data for models of normal cognition.
Hayden, Benjamin Y.; Gallant, Jack L.
Recognizing and responding to a remembered stimulus requires the coordination of perception, working memory, and decision-making. To investigate the role of visual cortex in these processes, we recorded responses of single V4 neurons during performance of a delayed match-to-sample task that incorporates rapid serial visual presentation of natural images. We found that neuronal activity during the delay period after the cue but before the images depends on the identity of the remembered image and that this change persists while distractors appear. This persistent response modulation has been identified as a diagnostic criterion for putative working memory signals; our data thus suggest that working memory may involve reactivation of sensory neurons. When the remembered image reappears in the neuron’s receptive field, visually evoked responses are enhanced; this match enhancement is a diagnostic criterion for decision. One model that predicts these data is the matched filter hypothesis, which holds that during search V4 neurons change their tuning so as to match the remembered cue, and thus become detectors for that image. More generally, these results suggest that V4 neurons participate in the perceptual, working memory, and decision processes that are needed to perform memory-guided decision-making. PMID:23550043
Fassihi, Arash; Akrami, Athena; Esmaeili, Vahid; Diamond, Mathew E.
Primates can store sensory stimulus parameters in working memory for subsequent manipulation, but until now, there has been no demonstration of this capacity in rodents. Here we report tactile working memory in rats. Each stimulus is a vibration, generated as a series of velocity values sampled from a normal distribution. To perform the task, the rat positions its whiskers to receive two such stimuli, “base” and “comparison,” separated by a variable delay. It then judges which stimulus had greater velocity SD. In analogous experiments, humans compare two vibratory stimuli on the fingertip. We demonstrate that the ability of rats to hold base stimulus information (for up to 8 s) and their acuity in assessing stimulus differences overlap the performance demonstrated by humans. This experiment highlights the ability of rats to perceive the statistical structure of vibrations and reveals their previously unknown capacity to store sensory information in working memory. PMID:24449850
Fassihi, Arash; Akrami, Athena; Esmaeili, Vahid; Diamond, Mathew E
Primates can store sensory stimulus parameters in working memory for subsequent manipulation, but until now, there has been no demonstration of this capacity in rodents. Here we report tactile working memory in rats. Each stimulus is a vibration, generated as a series of velocity values sampled from a normal distribution. To perform the task, the rat positions its whiskers to receive two such stimuli, "base" and "comparison," separated by a variable delay. It then judges which stimulus had greater velocity SD. In analogous experiments, humans compare two vibratory stimuli on the fingertip. We demonstrate that the ability of rats to hold base stimulus information (for up to 8 s) and their acuity in assessing stimulus differences overlap the performance demonstrated by humans. This experiment highlights the ability of rats to perceive the statistical structure of vibrations and reveals their previously unknown capacity to store sensory information in working memory.
Evans, William S.; Caplan, David; Ostrowski, Adam; Michaud, Jennifer; Guarino, Anthony; Waters, Gloria
Two hundred participants, 50 in each of four age ranges (19 – 29; 30 – 49, 50 – 69, 70 – 90) were tested for short term working memory, speed of processing and on-line processing of three types of sentences in which an initially assigned syntactic structure and/or semantic interpretation had to be revised. Self-paced reading times were longer for the segments which signaled the need for revision, and there were interactions of age and sentence type and of speed of processing and sentence type, but not of working memory and sentence type, on reading times for these segments. The results provide evidence that working memory does not support the processes that revise the structure and interpretation of sentences and discourse. PMID:25485458
Zhou, Xin; Zhu, Dantong; Qi, Xue-Lian; Li, Sihai; King, Samson G.; Salinas, Emilio; Stanford, Terrence R.; Constantinidis, Christos
Working memory ability matures after puberty, in parallel with structural changes in the prefrontal cortex, but little is known about how changes in prefrontal neuronal activity mediate this cognitive improvement in primates. To address this issue, we compare behavioural performance and neurophysiological activity in monkeys as they transitioned from puberty into adulthood. Here we report that monkeys perform working memory tasks reliably during puberty and show modest improvement in adulthood. The adult prefrontal cortex is characterized by increased activity during the delay period of the task but no change in the representation of stimuli. Activity evoked by distracting stimuli also decreases in the adult prefrontal cortex. The increase in delay period activity relative to the baseline activity of prefrontal neurons is the best correlate of maturation and is not merely a consequence of improved performance. Our results reveal neural correlates of the working memory improvement typical of primate adolescence. PMID:27827365
Tsujii, Takeo; Yamamoto, Eriko; Masuda, Sayako; Watanabe, Shigeru
This study longitudinally compared activity in the frontal cortex during a spatial working memory task between 5-year-old and 7-year-old children using near-infrared spectroscopy. Eight children participated in this study twice, once at 5 years and once at 7 years of age. Behavioral analysis showed that older children performed the working memory task more precisely and more rapidly than younger children. Near-infrared spectroscopy analysis showed that right hemisphere dominance was observed in older children, whereas no hemispheric difference was apparent in younger children. Children with strengthened lateralization showed improved performance from 5 to 7 years. We therefore offer the first demonstration of the developmental changes in frontal cortical activation during spatial working memory tasks during the preschool period.
Auksztulewicz, Ryszard; Spitzer, Bernhard; Goltz, Dominique; Blankenburg, Felix
Numerous studies in animals and humans have related central aspects of somatosensory working memory function to neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). However, as previous studies have almost exclusively used correlational analyses, the question whether sustained neural activity in the IFG is causally involved in successful maintenance of somatosensory information remains unanswered. We used an online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol to disrupt neuronal activity in the IFG while participants were maintaining tactile information throughout the delay for later comparison against a probe stimulus. rTMS impaired participants' performance in the working memory task, but not in a physically matched perceptual control task. Targeting the IFG in either hemisphere led to comparable working memory impairment. Our results show that the neural activity in the IFG plays a causal role in successful maintenance of somatosensory information.
Osaka, Mariko; Yaoi, Ken; Minamoto, Takehiro; Osaka, Naoyuki
The present study investigated when emotion modulates working memory from the perspective of neural activation. Using fMRI, we measured brain activity during the encoding and retrieval phases of a reading span test (RST) that used emotional contexts. The emotional RST required participants to read sentences that elicited negative, neural or positive emotional states while they were memorizing target words from the sentences. Compared with the neutral RST, the negative RST activated the right amygdala during the reading phase. Significant activation was also found in the parahippocampal gyrus, albeit only after activation of the amygdala became comparable to that in the neutral RST. In contrast, the positive RST activated the substantia nigra during the reading phase relative to the neutral RST. These findings suggest that negative and positive emotions modulate working memory through distinctive neural circuits. We also discuss possible relationships between emotional modulation and working memory capacity.
Cowan, Nelson; Ricker, Timothy J.; Clark, Katherine M.; Hinrichs, Garrett A.; Glass, Bret A.
According to some views of cognitive growth, the development of working memory capacity can account for increases in the complexity of cognition. It has been difficult to ascertain, though, that there actually is developmental growth in capacity that cannot be attributed to other developing factors. Here we assess the role of item familiarity. We document developmental increases in working memory for visual arrays of English letters versus unfamiliar characters. Although letter knowledge played a special role in development between the ages of 6 to 8 years, children with adequate letter knowledge showed practically the same developmental growth in normalized functions for letters and unfamiliar characters. The results contribute to a growing body of evidence that the developmental improvement in working memory does not wholly stem from supporting processes such as encoding, mnemonic strategies, and knowledge. PMID:24942111
Ackerman, Phillip L; Beier, Margaret E; Boyle, Mary O
Several investigators have claimed over the past decade that working memory (WM) and general intelligence (g) are identical, or nearly identical, constructs, from an individual-differences perspective. Although memory measures are commonly included in intelligence tests, and memory abilities are included in theories of intelligence, the identity between WM and intelligence has not been evaluated comprehensively. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 86 samples that relate WM to intelligence. The average correlation between true-score estimates of WM and g is substantially less than unity (p=.479). The authors also focus on the distinction between short-term memory and WM with respect to intelligence with a supplemental meta-analysis. The authors discuss how consideration of psychometric and theoretical perspectives better informs the discussion of WM-intelligence relations.
Balderston, Nicholas L; Quispe-Escudero, David; Hale, Elizabeth; Davis, Andrew; O'Connell, Katherine; Ernst, Monique; Grillon, Christian
According to the attentional control theory (ACT) proposed by Eysenck and colleagues, anxiety interferes with cognitive processing by prioritizing bottom-up attentional processes over top-down attentional processes, leading to competition for access to limited resources in working memory, particularly the central executive (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, ). However, previous research using the n-back working memory task suggests that working memory load also reduces state anxiety. Assuming that similar mechanisms underlie the effect of anxiety on cognition, and the effect of cognition on anxiety, one possible implication of the ACT would suggest that the reduction of state anxiety with increasing working memory load is driven by activation of central executive attentional control processes. We tested this hypothesis using the Sternberg working memory paradigm, where maintenance processes can be isolated from central executive processes (Altamura et al., ; Sternberg, ). Consistent with the n-back results, subjects showed decreased state anxiety during the maintenance period of high-load trials relative to low-load trials, suggesting that maintenance processes alone are sufficient to achieve this state anxiety reduction. Given that the Sternberg task does not require central executive engagement, these results are not consistent with an implication of the ACT where the cognition/anxiety relationship and anxiety/cognition relationship are mediated by similar central executive mechanisms. Instead, we propose an extension of the ACT such that engaging working memory maintenance suppresses state anxiety in a load-dependent manner. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the efficacy of this effect may moderate the effect of trait anxiety on cognition.
Nelwan, Michel; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H.
The goal of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate whether Jungle Memory working memory training (JM) affects performance on working memory tasks, performance in mathematics and gains made on a mathematics training (MT) in school aged children between 9–12 years old (N = 64) with both difficulties in mathematics, as well as attention and working memory. Children were randomly assigned to three groups and were trained in two periods: (1) JM first, followed by MT, (2) MT first, followed by JM, and (3) a control group that received MT only. Bayesian analyses showed possible short term effects of JM on near transfer measures of verbal working memory, but none on visual working memory. Furthermore, support was found for the hypothesis that children that received JM first, performed better after MT than children who did not follow JM first or did not train with JM at all. However, these effects could be explained at least partly by frequency of training effects, possibly due to motivational issues, and training-specific factors. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether the effects found on improving mathematics were actually mediated by gains in working memory. It is argued that JM might not train the components of working memory involved in mathematics sufficiently. Another possible explanation can be found in the training’s lack of adaptivity, therefore failing to provide the children with tailored instruction and feedback. Finally, it was hypothesized that, since effect sizes are generally small, training effects are bound to a critical period in development. PMID:27708595
Nelwan, Michel; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H
The goal of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate whether Jungle Memory working memory training (JM) affects performance on working memory tasks, performance in mathematics and gains made on a mathematics training (MT) in school aged children between 9-12 years old (N = 64) with both difficulties in mathematics, as well as attention and working memory. Children were randomly assigned to three groups and were trained in two periods: (1) JM first, followed by MT, (2) MT first, followed by JM, and (3) a control group that received MT only. Bayesian analyses showed possible short term effects of JM on near transfer measures of verbal working memory, but none on visual working memory. Furthermore, support was found for the hypothesis that children that received JM first, performed better after MT than children who did not follow JM first or did not train with JM at all. However, these effects could be explained at least partly by frequency of training effects, possibly due to motivational issues, and training-specific factors. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether the effects found on improving mathematics were actually mediated by gains in working memory. It is argued that JM might not train the components of working memory involved in mathematics sufficiently. Another possible explanation can be found in the training's lack of adaptivity, therefore failing to provide the children with tailored instruction and feedback. Finally, it was hypothesized that, since effect sizes are generally small, training effects are bound to a critical period in development.
Ma, Xiaofei; Huang, Xiaolin; Ge, Yun; Hu, Yueming; Chen, Wei; Liu, Aili; Liu, Hongxing; Chen, Ying; Li, Bin; Ning, Xinbao
Brain connectivity analysis plays an essential role in the research of working memory that involves complex coordination of various brain regions. In this research, we present a comprehensive view of trans-states brain connectivity variation based on continuous scalp EEG, extending beyond traditional stimuli-lock averaging or restriction to short time scales of hundreds of milliseconds after stimulus onset. The scalp EEG was collected under three conditions: quiet, memory, and control. The only difference between the memory and control conditions was that in the memory condition, subjects made an effort to retain information. We started our investigation with calibrations of Pearson correlation in EEG analysis and then derived two indices, link strength and node connectivity, to make comparisons between different states. Finally, we constructed and studied trans-state brain connectivity variation topography. Comparing memory and control states with quiet state, we found that the beta topography highlights links between T5/T6 and O1/O2, which represents the visual ventral stream, and the gamma topography conveys strengthening of inter-hemisphere links and weakening of intra-hemisphere frontal-posterior links, implying parallel inter-hemisphere coordination combined with sequential intra-hemisphere coordination when subjects are confronted with visual stimuli and a motor task. For comparison between memory and control states, we also found that the node connectivity of T6 stands out in gamma topography, which provides strong proof from scalp EEG for the information binding or relational processing function of the temporal lobe in memory formation. To our knowledge, this is the first time for any method to effectively capture brain connectivity variation associated with working memory from a relatively large scale both in time (from a second to a minute) and in space (from the scalp). The method can track brain activity continuously with minimal manual interruptions
Ma, Xiaofei; Huang, Xiaolin; Ge, Yun; Hu, Yueming; Chen, Wei; Liu, Aili; Liu, Hongxing; Chen, Ying; Li, Bin; Ning, Xinbao
Brain connectivity analysis plays an essential role in the research of working memory that involves complex coordination of various brain regions. In this research, we present a comprehensive view of trans-states brain connectivity variation based on continuous scalp EEG, extending beyond traditional stimuli-lock averaging or restriction to short time scales of hundreds of milliseconds after stimulus onset. The scalp EEG was collected under three conditions: quiet, memory, and control. The only difference between the memory and control conditions was that in the memory condition, subjects made an effort to retain information. We started our investigation with calibrations of Pearson correlation in EEG analysis and then derived two indices, link strength and node connectivity, to make comparisons between different states. Finally, we constructed and studied trans-state brain connectivity variation topography. Comparing memory and control states with quiet state, we found that the beta topography highlights links between T5/T6 and O1/O2, which represents the visual ventral stream, and the gamma topography conveys strengthening of inter-hemisphere links and weakening of intra-hemisphere frontal-posterior links, implying parallel inter-hemisphere coordination combined with sequential intra-hemisphere coordination when subjects are confronted with visual stimuli and a motor task. For comparison between memory and control states, we also found that the node connectivity of T6 stands out in gamma topography, which provides strong proof from scalp EEG for the information binding or relational processing function of the temporal lobe in memory formation. To our knowledge, this is the first time for any method to effectively capture brain connectivity variation associated with working memory from a relatively large scale both in time (from a second to a minute) and in space (from the scalp). The method can track brain activity continuously with minimal manual interruptions
Suchow, Jordan W; Brady, Timothy F; Fougnie, Daryl; Alvarez, George A
The MemToolbox is a collection of MATLAB functions for modeling visual working memory. In support of its goal to provide a full suite of data analysis tools, the toolbox includes implementations of popular models of visual working memory, real and simulated data sets, Bayesian and maximum likelihood estimation procedures for fitting models to data, visualizations of data and fit, validation routines, model comparison metrics, and experiment scripts. The MemToolbox is released under the permissive BSD license and is available at http://memtoolbox.org.
Metzler-Baddeley, Claudia; Foley, Sonya; Jones, Derek K.
Brain region-specific changes have been demonstrated with a variety of cognitive training interventions. The effect of cognitive training on brain subnetworks in humans, however, remains largely unknown, with studies limited to functional networks. Here, we used a well-established working memory training program and state-of-the art neuroimaging methods in 40 healthy adults (21 females, mean age 26.5 years). Near and far-transfer training effects were assessed using computerized working memory and executive function tasks. Adaptive working memory training led to improvement on (non)trained working memory tasks and generalization to tasks of reasoning and inhibition. Graph theoretical analysis of the structural (white matter) network connectivity (“connectome”) revealed increased global integration within a frontoparietal attention network following adaptive working memory training compared with the nonadaptive group. Furthermore, the impact on the outcome of graph theoretical analyses of different white matter metrics to infer “connection strength” was evaluated. Increased efficiency of the frontoparietal network was best captured when using connection strengths derived from MR metrics that are thought to be more sensitive to differences in myelination (putatively indexed by the [quantitative] longitudinal relaxation rate, R1) than previously used diffusion MRI metrics (fractional anisotropy or fiber-tracking recovered streamlines). Our findings emphasize the critical role of specific microstructural markers in providing important hints toward the mechanisms underpinning training-induced plasticity that may drive working memory improvement in clinical populations. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This is the first study to explore training-induced changes in the structural connectome using a well-controlled design to examine cognitive training with up-to-date neuroimaging methods. We found changes in global integration based on white matter connectivity within a
Marton, Klara; Campanelli, Luca; Farkas, Lajos
Children with primary language impairment (LI) show a deficit in processing different grammatical structures, verb inflections, and syntactically complex sentences among other things (Clahsen–Hansen 1997; Leonard et al. 1997). Cross-linguistic research has shown that the pattern of performance is language-specific. We examined grammatical sensitivity to word order and agreement violations in 50 Hungarian-speaking children with and without LI. The findings suggest a strong association between sensitivity to grammatical violations and working memory capacity. Variations in working memory performance predicted grammatical sensitivity. Hungarian participants with LI exhibited a weakness in detecting both agreement and word order violations. PMID:23440891
Cheung, Olivia S.; Gauthier, Isabel
Faces and objects of expertise compete for early perceptual processes and holistic processing resources (Gauthier, Curran, Curby, & Collins, 2003). Here, we examined the nature of interference on holistic face processing in working memory by comparing how various types of loads affect selective attention to parts of face composites. In dual…
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…
Kercood, Suneeta; Lineweaver, Tara T.; Kugler, Jennifer
The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in self-reported symptomatology and working memory (visuospatial and auditory) in college students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Forty-seven college students with ADHD and 44 non-affected control participants completed two self-report questionnaires and six tests…
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.
Monaghan, Padraic; Shaw, John J; Ashworth-Lord, Anneliese; Newbury, Chloe R
Sleep is known to affect learning and memory, but the extent to which it influences behavioural processing in the left and right hemispheres of the brain is as yet unknown. We tested two hypotheses about lateralised effects of sleep on recognition memory for words: whether sleep reactivated recent experiences of words promoting access to the long-term store in the left hemisphere (LH), and whether sleep enhanced spreading activation differentially in semantic networks in the hemispheres. In Experiment 1, participants viewed lists of semantically related words, then slept or stayed awake for 12h before being tested on seen, unseen but related, or unrelated words presented to the left or the right hemisphere. Sleep was found to promote word recognition in the LH, and to spread activation equally within semantic networks in both hemispheres. Experiment 2 ensured that the results were not due to time of day effects influencing cognitive performance.
Berryhill, Marian E
The role of posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in various forms of memory is a current topic of interest in the broader field of cognitive neuroscience. This large cortical region has been linked with a wide range of mnemonic functions affecting each stage of memory processing: encoding, maintenance, and retrieval. Yet, the precise role of the PPC in memory remains mysterious and controversial. Progress in understanding PPC function will require researchers to incorporate findings in a convergent manner from multiple experimental techniques rather than emphasizing a particular type of data. To facilitate this process, here, we review findings from the human neuropsychological research and examine the consequences to memory following PPC damage. Recent patient-based research findings have investigated two typically disconnected fields: working memory (WM) and episodic memory. The findings from patient participants with unilateral and bilateral PPC lesions performing diverse experimental paradigms are summarized. These findings are then related to findings from other techniques including neurostimulation (TMS and tDCS) and the influential and more abundant functional neuroimaging literature. We then review the strengths and weaknesses of hypotheses proposed to account for PPC function in these forms of memory. Finally, we address what missing evidence is needed to clarify the role(s) of the PPC in memory.
Berryhill, Marian E.
The role of posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in various forms of memory is a current topic of interest in the broader field of cognitive neuroscience. This large cortical region has been linked with a wide range of mnemonic functions affecting each stage of memory processing: encoding, maintenance, and retrieval. Yet, the precise role of the PPC in memory remains mysterious and controversial. Progress in understanding PPC function will require researchers to incorporate findings in a convergent manner from multiple experimental techniques rather than emphasizing a particular type of data. To facilitate this process, here, we review findings from the human neuropsychological research and examine the consequences to memory following PPC damage. Recent patient-based research findings have investigated two typically disconnected fields: working memory (WM) and episodic memory. The findings from patient participants with unilateral and bilateral PPC lesions performing diverse experimental paradigms are summarized. These findings are then related to findings from other techniques including neurostimulation (TMS and tDCS) and the influential and more abundant functional neuroimaging literature. We then review the strengths and weaknesses of hypotheses proposed to account for PPC function in these forms of memory. Finally, we address what missing evidence is needed to clarify the role(s) of the PPC in memory. PMID:22701406
Schicktanz, Nathalie; Fastenrath, Matthias; Milnik, Annette; Spalek, Klara; Auschra, Bianca; Nyffeler, Thomas; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J.-F.; Schwegler, Kyrill
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a key role in working memory. Evidence indicates that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the DLPFC can interfere with working memory performance. Here we investigated for how long continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over the DLPFC decreases working memory performance and whether the effect of cTBS on performance depends on working memory load. Forty healthy young subjects received either cTBS over the left DLPFC or sham stimulation before performing a 2-, and 3-back working memory letter task. An additional 0-back condition served as a non-memory-related control, measuring general attention. cTBS over the left DLPFC significantly impaired 2-back working memory performance for about 15 min, whereas 3-back and 0-back performances were not significantly affected. Our results indicate that the effect of left DLPFC cTBS on working memory performance lasts for roughly 15 min and depends on working memory load. PMID:25781012
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.
This investigation shows that a working-memory load induced by a memory scanning task has an effect on nonlinear descriptors of the EEG dynamics. The effect was locally specific above the fronto-temporal (right) cortex and it may be described as a reduction in the dimensional complexity of cortical brain activity. The meaning of the effects seems to differ from that of EEG spectral power, which varied with time during the experiment and not with changes in the working-memory load conditions. Behaviorally controlled over- and underload led to increased variance of the dimensional complexity, thus indicating that dimensional complexity correlates more closely with actual performance than with more general descriptions of brain states. Habitual response speed had an effect at the parietal lead, thus indicating that fast responders reduced their dimensional complexity as the task demand increased. In contrast, the slower responders showed no such definite trend.
Bruder, Gerard E.; Alschuler, Daniel M.; Kroppmann, Christopher J.; Fekri, Shiva; Gil, Roberto; Jarskog, Lars F.; Harkavy-Friedman, Jill M.; Goetz, Raymond; Kayser, Jürgen; Wexler, Bruce E.
The heterogeneity of schizophrenia remains an obstacle for understanding its pathophysiology. Studies using a tone discrimination screening test to classify patients have found evidence for two subgroups having either a specific deficit in verbal working memory (WM) or deficits on both verbal and nonverbal memory tests. This study aimed to: (1) replicate in larger samples differences between these subgroups on the word serial position test (WSPT); (2) further evaluate their performance on additional tests of verbal WM, explicit memory, and sustained attention; (3) determine the relation of verbal WM deficits to auditory hallucinations and other symptoms; and (4) examine medication effects. WSPT of verbal WM and tone discrimination performance did not differ between medicated (n=45) and unmedicated (n=38) patients. Patients with schizophrenia who passed the auditory screening test (discriminators, n=60) were compared to those who did not (nondiscriminators, n=23), and healthy controls (n=47). The discriminator subgroup showed poorer verbal WM than controls and a deficit in verbal but not visual memory on Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised, whereas the nondiscriminator subgroup showed overall poorer performance on both verbal and nonverbal tests and a marked deficit in sustained attention. Verbal WM deficits in discriminators on WSPT were correlated with auditory hallucinations but not with negative symptoms. The results are consistent with a verbal memory deficit in a subgroup of schizophrenia having intact auditory perception, which may stem from dysfunction of language-related cortical regions, and a more generalized cognitive deficit in a subgroup having auditory perceptual and attentional dysfunction. PMID:21319926
Lechner, D E
The purpose of this article is to review the research on the effectiveness of work hardening and work conditioning programs. Twelve studies of work hardening and work conditioning programs in the United States and abroad were reviewed. One study produced convincing evidence in a randomized study that a work conditioning program was useful in producing a higher percentage of return to work and an earlier return to work in a group of patients off work for at least 2 months. Another study demonstrated that a work hardening program increased the rate of return to work by 52% in patients off work for greater than 4 months. Most of the other studies reviewed suggested positive results, but more carefully documented, randomized, and controlled studies are needed to support the efficacy of these programs and to determine the optimum and most cost-effective work hardening and work conditioning interventions.
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.
Luria, Roy; Vogel, Edward K
Previous research suggested that working memory (WM) does not play any significant role in visual search. In three experiments, we investigated the search difficulty and individual differences in WM capacity as determinants of WM involvement during visual search tasks, using both behavioral and electrophysiological markers [i.e., the contralateral delay activity (CDA), which is a marker for WM capacity allocation]. Human participants performed a visual search task that contained a target, neutral distractors, and a flanker distractor. Overall, we found that, as the search difficulty increased (as indicated by longer reaction times), so did the role of WM in performing the search task (as indicated by larger CDA amplitudes). Moreover, the results pinpoint a dissociation between the two types of factors that determined the WM involvement in the search process. Namely, individual differences in WM capacity and search difficulty independently affected the degree to which the search process relied on WM. Instead of showing a progressive role, individual differences in WM capacity correlated with the search efficiency in all search conditions (i.e., easy, medium, and difficult). Counterintuitively, individuals with high WM capacity generally relied less on WM during the search task.
Jones, Kevin T.; Stephens, Jaclyn A.; Alam, Mahtab; Bikson, Marom; Berryhill, Marian E.
An increasing concern affecting a growing aging population is working memory (WM) decline. Consequently, there is great interest in improving or stabilizing WM, which drives expanded use of brain training exercises. Such regimens generally result in temporary WM benefits to the trained tasks but minimal transfer of benefit to untrained tasks. Pairing training with neurostimulation may stabilize or improve WM performance by enhancing plasticity and strengthening WM-related cortical networks. We tested this possibility in healthy older adults. Participants received 10 sessions of sham (control) or active (anodal, 1.5 mA) tDCS to the right prefrontal, parietal, or prefrontal/parietal (alternating) cortices. After ten minutes of sham or active tDCS, participants performed verbal and visual WM training tasks. On the first, tenth, and follow-up sessions, participants performed transfer WM tasks including the spatial 2-back, Stroop, and digit span tasks. The results demonstrated that all groups benefited from WM training, as expected. However, at follow-up 1-month after training ended, only the participants in the active tDCS groups maintained significant improvement. Importantly, this pattern was observed for both trained and transfer tasks. These results demonstrate that tDCS-linked WM training can provide long-term benefits in maintaining cognitive training benefits and extending them to untrained tasks. PMID:25849358
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.
Cowan, Nelson; Ricker, Timothy J.; Clark, Katherine M.; Hinrichs, Garrett A.; Glass, Bret A.
According to some views of cognitive growth, the development of working memory capacity can account for increases in the complexity of cognition. It has been difficult to ascertain, though, that there actually is developmental growth in capacity that cannot be attributed to other developing factors. Here we assess the role of item familiarity. We…
Luo, Dasen; Chen, Guopeng; Zen, Fanlin; Murray, Bronwyn
Item responses to Digit Span and Letter-Number Sequencing were analyzed to develop a better-refined model of the two working memory tasks using the finite mixture (FM) modeling method. Models with ordinal latent traits were found to better account for the independent sources of the variability in the tasks than those with continuous traits, and…
Colom, Roberto; Rebollo, Irene; Palacios, Antonio; Juan-Espinosa, Manuel; Kyllonen, Patrick C.
This article analyzes if working memory (WM) is especially important to understand "g." WM comprises the functions of focusing attention, conscious rehearsal, and transformation and mental manipulation of information, while "g" reflects the component variance that is common to all tests of ability. The centrality of WM in individual differences in…
Anguera, Joaquin A.; Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia A.; Willingham, Daniel T.; Seidler, Rachael D.
Previous studies of motor learning have described the importance of cognitive processes during the early stages of learning; however, the precise nature of these processes and their neural correlates remains unclear. The present study investigated whether spatial working memory (SWM) contributes to visuomotor adaptation depending on the stage of…
Macizo, P.; Soriano, M. F.; Paredes, N.
We evaluated phonological and visuospatial working memory (WM) in autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children and typically developing children were compared. We used WM tasks that measured phonological and visuospatial WM up to the capacity limit of each children. Overall measures of WM did not show differences between autistic children and…
Wood, Justin N.
Visual working memory (VWM) is widely thought to contain specialized buffers for retaining spatial and object information: a "spatial-object architecture." However, studies of adults, infants, and nonhuman animals show that visual cognition builds on core knowledge systems that retain more specialized representations: (1) spatiotemporal…
Ecker, Ullrich K. H.; Maybery, Murray; Zimmer, Hubert D.
There is ongoing debate concerning the mechanisms of feature binding in working memory. In particular, there is controversy regarding the extent to which these binding processes are automatic. The present article demonstrates that binding mechanisms differ depending on whether the to-be-integrated features are perceived as forming a coherent…
Smith, Jean Louise M.; Sáez, Leilani; Doabler, Christian T.
Students are frequently expected to complete multistep tasks within a range of academic or classroom routines and to do so independently. Students' ability to complete these tasks successfully may vary as a consequence of both their working-memory capacity and the conditions under which they are expected to learn. Crucial features in the design or…
Carretti, B.; Belacchi, C.; Cornoldi, C.
Background: Despite the critical role attributed to working memory (WM) updating for executive functions and fluid intelligence, no research has yet been carried out on its specific role in the vital case of fluid intelligence weakness, represented by individuals with intellectual disability (ID). Furthermore, the relationship between updating and…
Colom, Roberto; Abad, Francisco J.; Quiroga, M. Angeles; Shih, Pei Chun; Flores-Mendoza, Carmen
Working memory and the general factor of intelligence (g) are highly related constructs. However, we still don't know why. Some models support the central role of simple short-term storage, whereas others appeal to executive functions like the control of attention. Nevertheless, the available empirical evidence does not suffice to get an answer,…
Jausovec, Norbert; Jausovec, Ksenija
The main objectives of the study were: to investigate whether training on working memory (WM) could improve fluid intelligence, and to investigate the effects WM training had on neuroelectric (electroencephalography--EEG) and hemodynamic (near-infrared spectroscopy--NIRS) patterns of brain activity. In a parallel group experimental design,…
Juffs, Alan; Harrington, Michael
This article reviews research on working memory (WM) and its use in second language (L2) acquisition research. Recent developments in the model and issues surrounding the operationalization of the construct itself are presented, followed by a discussion of various methods of measuring WM. These methods include word and digit span tasks, reading,…
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oberauer, Klaus
What drives forgetting in working memory? Recent evidence suggests that in a complex-span task in which an irrelevant processing task alternates with presentation of the memoranda, recall declines when the time taken to complete the processing task is extended while holding the time for rehearsal in between processing steps constant (Portrat,…
Jha, Amishi P.; Kiyonaga, Anastasia
Dynamic adjustments in cognitive control are well documented in conflict tasks, wherein competition from irrelevant stimulus attributes intensifies selection demands and leads to subsequent performance benefits. The current study investigated whether mnemonic demands, in a working memory (WM) task, can drive similar online control modifications.…
Soto, David; Wriglesworth, Alice; Bahrami-Balani, Alex; Humphreys, Glyn W.
We show that perceptual sensitivity to visual stimuli can be modulated by matches between the contents of working memory (WM) and stimuli in the visual field. Observers were presented with an object cue (to hold in WM or to merely attend) and subsequently had to identify a brief target presented within a colored shape. The cue could be…
Nagel, Bonnie J.; Herting, Megan M.; Maxwell, Emily C.; Bruno, Richard; Fair, Damien
Adult functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature suggests that a left-right hemispheric dissociation may exist between verbal and spatial working memory (WM), respectively. However, investigation of this type has been obscured by incomparable verbal and spatial WM tasks and/or visual inspection at arbitrary thresholds as means to…
Wright, Heather Harris; Shisler, Rebecca J.
Recently, researchers have suggested that deficits in working memory capacity contribute to language-processing difficulties observed in individuals with aphasia (e.g., I. Caspari, S. Parkinson, L. LaPointe, & R. Katz, 1998; R. A. Downey et al., 2004; N. Friedmann & A. Gvion, 2003; H. H. Wright, M. Newhoff, R. Downey, & S. Austermann, 2003). A…
Baltruschat, Lisa; Hasselhorn, Marcus; Tarbox, Jonathan; Dixon, Dennis R.; Najdowski, Adel C.; Mullins, Ryan D.; Gould, Evelyn R.
Children with autism often struggle with executive function (EF) deficits, particularly with regard to working memory (WM). Despite the documented deficits in these areas, very little controlled research has evaluated treatments for remediation of EF or WM deficits in children with autism. This study examined the use of positive reinforcement for…
Bedard, Anne-Claude; Tannock, Rosemary
Objective: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on components of working memory (WM) in children with ADHD and determine whether MPH produces differential effects on WM in children with comorbid anxiety (ANX). Method: Participants were a clinical sample of 130 children with ADHD, aged 6 to 12 years old (32% comorbid ANX). Each child…
Thomas, Laura E.
Directed actions can play a causal role in cognition, shaping thought processes. What drives this cross-talk between action and thought? I investigated the hypothesis that representations in spatial working memory mediate interactions between directed actions and problem solving. Participants attempted to solve an insight problem while…
Olive, Thierry; Kellogg, Ronald T.; Piolat, Annie
Two experiments examined whether text composition engages verbal, visual, and spatial working memory to different degrees. In Experiment 1, undergraduate students composed by longhand a persuasive text while performing a verbal, visual, or spatial concurrent task that was presented visually. In Experiment 2, participants performed a verbal or…
Schuchardt, Kirsten; Maehler, Claudia; Hasselhorn, Marcus
This article examines working memory functioning in children with specific developmental disorders of scholastic skills as defined by ICD-10. Ninety-seven second to fourth graders with a minimum IQ of 80 are compared using a 2 x 2 factorial (dyscalculia vs. no dyscalculia; dyslexia vs. no dyslexia) design. An extensive test battery assesses the…
Mishra, Sushmit; Lunner, Thomas; Stenfelt, Stefan; Ronnberg, Jerker; Rudner, Mary
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the new Cognitive Spare Capacity Test (CSCT), which measures aspects of working memory capacity for heard speech in the audiovisual and auditory-only modalities of presentation. Method: In Experiment 1, 20 young adults with normal hearing performed the CSCT and an independent battery of…
Oberauer, Klaus; Bialkova, Svetlana
Six young adults practiced for 36 sessions on a working-memory updating task in which 2 digits and 2 spatial positions were continuously updated. Participants either did 1 updating operation at a time, or attempted 1 numerical and 1 spatial operation at the same time. In contrast to previous research using the same paradigm with a single digit and…
Bedard, Anne-Claude; Jain, Umesh; Hogg-Johnson, Sheilah; Tannock, Rosemary
Background: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on components of working memory (WM) in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and determine the responsiveness of WM measures to MPH. Methods: Participants were a clinical sample of 50 children and adolescents with ADHD, aged 6 to 16 years old, who participated in an acute…
Melby-Lervag, Monica; Hulme, Charles
It has been suggested that working memory training programs are effective both as treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other cognitive disorders in children and as a tool to improve cognitive ability and scholastic attainment in typically developing children and adults. However, effects across studies appear to be…
Lechuga, M. Teresa; Pelegrina, Santiago; Pelaez, Jose L.; Martin-Puga, M. Eva; Justicia, M. Jose
There is growing evidence supporting the importance of executive functions, and specifically working memory updating (WMU), for children's academic achievement. This study aimed to assess the specific contribution of updating to the prediction of academic performance. Two updating tasks, which included different updating components, were…
Bunting, Michael F.; Cowan, Nelson
We argue that attention and awareness form the basis of one type of working-memory storage. In contrast to models of working memory in which storage and retrieval occur effortlessly, we document that an attention-demanding goal conflict within a retrieval cue impairs recall from working memory. In a conceptual span task, semantic and color-name cues prompted recall of four consecutive words from a twelve-word list. The first-, middle-, and final-four words belonged to different semantic categories (e.g., body parts, animals, and tools) and were shown in different colors (e.g., red, blue, and green). In Experiment 1, the color of the cue matched that of cued items 75% of the time, and the rare mismatch impaired recall. In Experiment 2, though, the color of the cue matched that of the cued items only 25% of the time, and the now-more-frequent mismatches no longer mattered. These results are difficult to explain with passive storage alone and indicate that a processing difficulty impedes recall from working memory, presumably by distracting attention away from its storage function. PMID:15856289
Simmering, Vanessa R.
The change detection task has been used in dozens of studies with adults to measure visual working memory capacity. Two studies have recently tested children in this task, suggesting a gradual increase in capacity from 5 years to adulthood. These results contrast with findings from an infant looking paradigm suggesting that capacity reaches…
Sanchez, Christopher A.; Wiley, Jennifer; Miura, Timothy K.; Colflesh, Gregory J. H.; Ricks, Travis R.; Jensen, Melinda S.; Conway, Andrew R. A.
The present studies directly test the usefulness of two English-language working memory capacity (WMC) assessments with two samples of students whose native language was not English. Participants completed two widely used complex span tasks, Reading Span (RSpan) and Operation Span (OSpan), in English. To determine whether the well-established…
Vatansever, D; Manktelow, A E; Sahakian, B J; Menon, D K; Stamatakis, E A
Initially identified during no-task, baseline conditions, it has now been suggested that the default mode network (DMN) engages during a variety of working memory paradigms through its flexible interactions with other large-scale brain networks. Nevertheless, its contribution to whole-brain connectivity dynamics across increasing working memory load has not been explicitly assessed. The aim of our study was to determine which DMN hubs relate to working memory task performance during an fMRI-based n-back paradigm with parametric increases in difficulty. Using a voxel-wise metric, termed the intrinsic connectivity contrast (ICC), we found that the bilateral angular gyri (core DMN hubs) displayed the greatest change in global connectivity across three levels of n-back task load. Subsequent seed-based functional connectivity analysis revealed that the angular DMN regions robustly interact with other large-scale brain networks, suggesting a potential involvement in the global integration of information. Further support for this hypothesis comes from the significant correlations we found between angular gyri connectivity and reaction times to correct responses. The implication from our study is that the DMN is actively involved during the n-back task and thus plays an important role related to working memory, with its core angular regions contributing to the changes in global brain connectivity in response to increasing environmental demands. Hum Brain Mapp 38:41-52, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Burnett Heyes, Stephanie; Zokaei, Nahid; van der Staaij, Irene; Bays, Paul M.; Husain, Masud
Visual working memory (VWM) is the facility to hold in mind visual information for brief periods of time. Developmental studies have suggested an increase during childhood in the maximum number of complete items that can simultaneously be stored in VWM. Here, we exploit a recent theoretical and empirical innovation to investigate instead the…
Tirre, William C.; Pena, Carmen M.
Two experiments with approximately 377 newly enlisted Air Force personnel and 182 college students investigated the validity of a reading span test combining a knowledge verification task with a word memorization task. Results support the hypothesis that word recall reflects the amount of working memory functional in reading. (SLD)
Although visual imagery and visual working memory are both defined by the ability to actively represent and manipulate visual information, it is not known whether they rely on common mechanisms. A recent study by Albers and colleagues directly investigates this issue, finding evidence of common internal representations in early visual areas. PMID:23958465
Cowan, Nelson; Blume, Christopher L.; Saults, J. Scott
It has been debated on the basis of change-detection procedures whether visual working memory is limited by the number of objects, task-relevant attributes within those objects, or bindings between attributes. This debate, however, has been hampered by several limitations, including the use of conditions that vary between studies and the absence…
Decker, Janice E.
Brain-based initiatives and school readiness mandates in education have prompted researchers to examine the biological mechanisms associated with learning in the hope that understanding empirical evidence can maximize learning potential. Current research has examined working memory skills in relationship to early learning. The function of working…
The main objective of this study is (a) to explore the relationship among cognitive style (field dependence/independence), working memory, and mathematics anxiety and (b) to examine their effects on students' mathematics problem solving. A sample of 161 school girls (13-14 years old) were tested on (1) the Witkin's cognitive style (Group Embedded…
Huang, Jia; Tan, Shu-ping; Walsh, Sarah C; Spriggens, Lauren K; Neumann, David L; Shum, David H K; Chan, Raymond C K
The current study aimed to examine the contribution of neurocognition and social cognition to components of social problem solving. Sixty-seven inpatients with schizophrenia and 31 healthy controls were administrated batteries of neurocognitive tests, emotion perception tests, and the Chinese Assessment of Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills (CAIPSS). MANOVAs were conducted to investigate the domains in which patients with schizophrenia showed impairments. Correlations were used to determine which impaired domains were associated with social problem solving, and multiple regression analyses were conducted to compare the relative contribution of neurocognitive and social cognitive functioning to components of social problem solving. Compared with healthy controls, patients with schizophrenia performed significantly worse in sustained attention, working memory, negative emotion, intention identification and all components of the CAIPSS. Specifically, sustained attention, working memory and negative emotion identification were found to correlate with social problem solving and 1-back accuracy significantly predicted the poor performance in social problem solving. Among the dysfunctions in schizophrenia, working memory contributed most to deficits in social problem solving in patients with schizophrenia. This finding provides support for targeting working memory in the development of future social problem solving rehabilitation interventions.
De Loof, Esther; Verguts, Tom; Fias, Wim; Van Opstal, Filip
Cognitive theories on consciousness propose a strong link between consciousness and working memory (WM). This link is also present at the neural level: Both consciousness and WM have been implicated in a prefrontal parietal network. However, the link remains empirically unexplored. The present study investigates the relation between consciousness…
Proactive interference (PI) may influence the predictive utility of working memory span tasks. Participants in one experiment (N=70) completed Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) and multiple versions of operation span and probed recall, modified for the type of memoranda (digits or words). Changing memoranda within- or across-trials…
Motor affordances have been shown to play a role in visual object identification and categorization. The present study explored whether working memory is likewise supported by motor affordances. Use of motor affordances should be disrupted by motor interference, and this effect should be larger for objects that have motor affordances than for…
Lee, Kerry; Bull, Rebecca
Children with higher working memory or updating (WMU) capacity perform better in math. What is less clear is whether and how this relation varies with grade. Children (N = 673, kindergarten to Grade 9) participated in a 4-year cross-sequential study. Data from 3 WMU (Listening Recall, Mr. X, and an updating task) and a standardized math task…
Roberts, William A; Macpherson, Krista; Strang, Caroline
The interaction between working and reference memory systems was examined under conditions in which salient contextual cues were presented during memory retrieval. Ambient colored lights (red or green) bathed the operant chamber during the presentation of comparison stimuli in delayed matching-to-sample training (working memory) and during the presentation of the comparison stimuli as S+ and S- cues in discrimination training (reference memory). Strong competition between memory systems appeared when the same contextual cue appeared during working and reference memory training. When different contextual cues were used, however, working memory was completely protected from reference memory interference.
Nijboer, Menno; Borst, Jelmer; van Rijn, Hedderik; Taatgen, Niels
Working memory can be a major source of interference in dual tasking. However, there is no consensus on whether this interference is the result of a single working memory bottleneck, or of interactions between different working memory components that together form a complete working-memory system. We report a behavioral and an fMRI dataset in which working memory requirements are manipulated during multitasking. We show that a computational cognitive model that assumes a distributed version of working memory accounts for both behavioral and neuroimaging data better than a model that takes a more centralized approach. The model's working memory consists of an attentional focus, declarative memory, and a subvocalized rehearsal mechanism. Thus, the data and model favor an account where working memory interference in dual tasking is the result of interactions between different resources that together form a working-memory system.
Voigt, Babett; Mahy, Caitlin E V; Ellis, Judi; Schnitzspahn, Katharina; Krause, Ivonne; Altgassen, Mareike; Kliegel, Matthias
This large-scale study examined the development of time-based prospective memory (PM) across childhood and the roles that working memory updating and time monitoring play in driving age effects in PM performance. One hundred and ninety-seven children aged 5 to 14 years completed a time-based PM task where working memory updating load was manipulated within individuals using a dual task design. Results revealed age-related increases in PM performance across childhood. Working memory updating load had a negative impact on PM performance and monitoring behavior in older children, but this effect was smaller in younger children. Moreover, the frequency as well as the pattern of time monitoring predicted children's PM performance. Our interpretation of these results is that processes involved in children's PM may show a qualitative shift over development from simple, nonstrategic monitoring behavior to more strategic monitoring based on internal temporal models that rely specifically on working memory updating resources. We discuss this interpretation with regard to possible trade-off effects in younger children as well as alternative accounts.
Cowles, H Wind; Garnham, Alan; Simner, Julia
The degree of semantic similarity between an anaphoric noun phrase (e.g., the bird) and its antecedent (e.g., a robin) is known to affect the anaphor resolution process, but the mechanisms that underlie this effect are not known. One proposal (Almor, 1999) is that semantic similarity triggers interference effects in working memory and makes two crucial assumptions: First, semantic similarity impairs working memory just as phonological similarity does (e.g., Baddeley, 1992), and, second, this impairment interferes with processes of sentence comprehension. We tested these assumptions in two experiments that compared recall accuracy between phonologically similar, semantically similar, and control words in sentence contexts. Our results do not provide support for Almor's claims: Phonological overlap decreased recall accuracy in sentence contexts, but semantic similarity did not. These results shed doubt on the idea that semantic interference in working memory is an underlying mechanism in anaphor resolution.
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.
Kondo, Hirohito M.; Nomura, Michio; Kashino, Makio
Working memory is linked to the functions of the frontal areas, in which neural activity is mediated by dopaminergic and serotonergic tones. However, there is no consensus regarding how the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems influence working memory subprocesses. The present study used an imaging genetics approach to examine the interaction between neurochemical functions and working memory performance. We focused on functional polymorphisms of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met and serotonin 2A receptor (HTR2A) -1438G/A genes, and devised a delayed recognition task to isolate the encoding, retention, and retrieval processes for visual information. The COMT genotypes affected recognition accuracy, whereas the HTR2A genotypes were associated with recognition response times. Activations specifically related to working memory were found in the right frontal and parietal areas, such as the middle frontal gyrus (MFG), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and inferior parietal lobule (IPL). MFG and ACC/IPL activations were sensitive to differences between the COMT genotypes and between the HTR2A genotypes, respectively. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that stronger connectivity in the ACC-MFG and ACC-IFG networks is related to better task performance. The behavioral and fMRI results suggest that the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems play different roles in the working memory subprocesses and modulate closer cooperation between lateral and medial frontal activations. PMID:25974269
Beracochea, Daniel; Krazem, Ali; Henkouss, Nadia; Haccard, Guillaume; Roller, Marc; Fromentin, Emilie
The number of Americans older than 65 years old is projected to more than double in the next 40 years. Cognitive changes associated to aging can affect an adult's day-to-day functioning. Among these cognitive changes, reasoning, episodic memory, working memory, and processing speed decline gradually over time. Early memory changes include a decline in both working and episodic memory. The aim of the present study was to determine whether chronic (up to 75 days) daily administration of wild blueberry extract or a wild blueberry full spectrum powder would help prevent memory failure associated with aging in tasks involving various forms of memory. Both blueberry ingredients were used in a study comparing young mice (6 months old) to aged mice (18 months old). At this age, mice exhibit memory decline due to aging, which is exacerbated first by a loss in working and contextual (episodic-like) memory. Contextual memory (episodic-like memory) was evaluated using the contextual serial discrimination test. Working and spatial memory were evaluated using the Morris-Water maze test and the sequential alternation test. Statistical analysis was performed using an ANOVA with the Bonferroni post-hoc test. Supplementation with wild blueberry full spectrum powder and wild blueberry extract resulted in significant improvement of contextual memory, while untreated aged mice experienced a decline in such memory. Only the wild blueberry full spectrum powder significantly contributed to an improvement of spatial and working memory versus untreated aged mice. These improvements of cognitive performance may be related to brain oxidative status, acetylcholinesterase activity, neuroprotection, or attenuation of immunoreactivity.
Holmes, Joni; Gathercole, Susan E.; Dunning, Darren L.
Working memory plays a crucial role in supporting learning, with poor progress in reading and mathematics characterizing children with low memory skills. This study investigated whether these problems can be overcome by a training program designed to boost working memory. Children with low working memory skills were assessed on measures of working…
Gabig, Cheryl Smith
Purpose: This study examined verbal working memory and language ability in 15 school-age children with autism using 3 verbal working memory tasks and 1 story recall task. Method: Three measures of verbal working memory--nonword repetition, memory for digits span, and sentence imitation--were given to children with autism and age-matched controls.…
Tiggemann, Marika; Kemps, Eva; Parnell, Jasmin
The present study aimed to extend previous research into cognitive impairments as a consequence of food craving. In particular, the study examined the impact of chocolate craving on the three components of working memory: the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the central executive, assessed by the digit span, Corsi blocks, and the double span tasks, respectively. A sample of 96 female undergraduate students was randomly assigned to a craving or control condition. Participants in the craving condition abstained from eating chocolate for 24h prior to testing, and performed the cognitive tasks in the presence of chocolate, a manipulation that successfully elicited chocolate cravings. As predicted on the basis of the visual imagery nature of food cravings, participants in the craving condition performed more poorly on the Corsi blocks task than control participants, but the groups did not differ on the digit span or double span measures. These results indicate that chocolate cravings selectively disrupt performance on visuospatial tasks. According to the working memory model, this occurs because food cravings compete for limited visuospatial working memory resources. These findings have practical implications in that visuospatial memory plays an important role in many everyday behaviours.
Currie, Nicola Kate; Cain, Kate
Inferences are crucial to successful discourse comprehension. We assessed the contributions of vocabulary and working memory to inference making in children aged 5 and 6years (n=44), 7 and 8years (n=43), and 9 and 10years (n=43). Children listened to short narratives and answered questions to assess local and global coherence inferences after each one. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) confirmed developmental improvements on both types of inference. Although standardized measures of both vocabulary and working memory were correlated with inference making, multiple regression analyses determined that vocabulary was the key predictor. For local coherence inferences, only vocabulary predicted unique variance for the 6- and 8-year-olds; in contrast, none of the variables predicted performance for the 10-year-olds. For global coherence inferences, vocabulary was the only unique predictor for each age group. Mediation analysis confirmed that although working memory was associated with the ability to generate local and global coherence inferences in 6- to 10-year-olds, the effect was mediated by vocabulary. We conclude that vocabulary knowledge supports inference making in two ways: through knowledge of word meanings required to generate inferences and through its contribution to memory processes.
Oberauer, Klaus; Awh, Edward; Sutterer, David W.
We report 4 experiments examining whether associations in visual working memory are subject to proactive interference from long-term memory (LTM). Following a long-term learning phase in which participants learned the colors of 120 unique objects, a working memory (WM) test was administered in which participants recalled the precise colors of 3…
Darling, Stephen; Uytman, Clare; Allen, Richard J; Havelka, Jelena; Pearson, David G
Body dissatisfaction (BD) is a highly prevalent feature amongst females in society, with the majority of individuals regarding themselves to be overweight compared to their personal ideal, and very few self-describing as underweight. To date, explanations of this dramatic pattern have centred on extrinsic social and media factors, or intrinsic factors connected to individuals' knowledge and belief structures regarding eating and body shape, with little research examining links between BD and basic cognitive mechanisms. This paper reports a correlational study in which visual and executive cognitive processes that could potentially impact on BD were assessed. Visual memory span and self-rated visual imagery were found to be predictive of BD, alongside a measure of inhibition derived from the Stroop task. In contrast, spatial memory and global precedence were not related to BD. Results are interpreted with reference to the influential multi-component model of working memory.
Leszczyński, Marcin; Fell, Juergen; Axmacher, Nikolai
Working memory (WM) maintenance is assumed to rely on a single sustained process throughout the entire maintenance period. This assumption, although fundamental, has never been tested. We used intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from the human hippocampus in two independent experiments to investigate the neural dynamics underlying WM maintenance. We observed periodic fluctuations between two different oscillatory regimes: Periods of "memory activation" were reflected by load-dependent alpha power reductions and lower levels of cross-frequency coupling (CFC). They occurred interleaved with periods characterized by load-independent high levels of alpha power and CFC. During memory activation periods, a relevant CFC parameter (load-dependent changes of the peak modulated frequency) correlated with individual WM capacity. Fluctuations between these two periods predicted successful performance and were locked to the phase of endogenous delta oscillations. These results show that hippocampal maintenance is a dynamic rather than constant process and depends critically on a hierarchy of oscillations.
Sprague, Thomas C; Ester, Edward F; Serences, John T
Working memory (WM) enables the storage and manipulation of limited amounts of information over short periods. Prominent models posit that increasing the number of remembered items decreases the spiking activity dedicated to each item via mutual inhibition, which irreparably degrades the fidelity of each item's representation. We tested these models by determining if degraded memory representations could be recovered following a post-cue indicating which of several items in spatial WM would be recalled. Using an fMRI-based image reconstruction technique, we identified impaired behavioral performance and degraded mnemonic representations with elevated memory load. However, in several cortical regions, degraded mnemonic representations recovered substantially following a post-cue, and this recovery tracked behavioral performance. These results challenge pure spike-based models of WM and suggest that remembered items are additionally encoded within latent or hidden neural codes that can help reinvigorate active WM representations.
Orsolini, Margherita; Melogno, Sergio; Latini, Nausica; Penge, Roberta; Conforti, Sara
The present case study investigates the effects of a cognitive training of verbal working memory that was proposed for Davide, a 14-year-old boy diagnosed with mild intellectual disability. The program stimulated attention, inhibition, switching, and the ability to engage either in verbal dual tasks or in producing inferences after the content of a short passage had been encoded in episodic memory. Key elements in our program included (1) core training of target cognitive mechanisms; (2) guided practice emphasizing concrete strategies to engage in exercises; and (3) a variable amount of adult support. The study explored whether such a complex program produced “near transfer” effects on an untrained dual task assessing verbal working memory and whether effects on this and other target cognitive mechanisms (i.e., attention, inhibition, and switching) were long-lasting and produced “far transfer” effects on cognitive flexibility. The effects of the intervention program were investigated with a research design consisting of four subsequent phases lasting 8 or 10 weeks, each preceded and followed by testing. There was a control condition (phase 1) in which the boy received, at home, a stimulation focused on the visuospatial domain. Subsequently, there were three experimental training phases, in which stimulation in the verbal domain was first focused on attention and inhibition (phase 2a), then on switching and simple working memory tasks (phase 2b), then on complex working memory tasks (phase 3). A battery of neuropsychological tests was administered before and after each training phase and 7 months after the conclusion of the intervention. The main finding was that Davide changed from being incapable of addressing the dual task request of the listening span test in the initial assessment to performing close to the normal limits of a 13-year-old boy in the follow-up assessment with this test, when he was 15 years old. PMID:26284014
McEvoy, L K; Smith, M E; Gevins, A
Working memory (WM), the ability to briefly retain and manipulate information in mind, is central to intelligent behavior. Here we take advantage of the high temporal resolution of electrophysiological measures to obtain a millisecond timescale view of the activity induced in distributed cortical networks by tasks that impose significant WM demands. We examined how these networks are affected by the type and amount of information to be remembered, and by the amount of task practice. Evoked potentials (EPs) were obtained from eight subjects performing spatial and verbal versions of a visual n-back WM task (n = 1, 2, 3) on each of three testing days. In well-trained subjects, WM tasks elicited transient responses reflecting different subcomponents of task processing, including transient (lasting 0.02-0.3 s) task-sensitive and load-sensitive EPs, as well as sustained responses (lasting 1-1.5 s), including the prestimulus Contingent Negative Variation (CNV), and post-stimulus frontal and parietal Slow Waves. The transient responses, with the exception of the P300, differed between the verbal and spatial task versions, and between trials with different response requirements. The P300 and the Slow Waves were not affected by task version but were affected by increased WM load. These results suggest that WM emerges from the formation of a dynamic cortical network linking task-specific processes with non-specific, capacity-limited, higher-order attentional processes. Practice effects on the EPs suggested that practice led to the development of a more effective cognitive strategy for dealing with lower-order aspects of task processing, but did not diminish demands made on higher order processes. Thus a simple WM task is shown to be composed of numerous elementary subsecond neural processes whose characteristics vary with type and amount of information being remembered, and amount of practice.
Nicenboim, Bruno; Vasishth, Shravan; Gattei, Carolina; Sigman, Mariano; Kliegl, Reinhold
There is a wealth of evidence showing that increasing the distance between an argument and its head leads to more processing effort, namely, locality effects; these are usually associated with constraints in working memory (DLT: Gibson, 2000; activation-based model: Lewis and Vasishth, 2005). In SOV languages, however, the opposite effect has been found: antilocality (see discussion in Levy et al., 2013). Antilocality effects can be explained by the expectation-based approach as proposed by Levy (2008) or by the activation-based model of sentence processing as proposed by Lewis and Vasishth (2005). We report an eye-tracking and a self-paced reading study with sentences in Spanish together with measures of individual differences to examine the distinction between expectation- and memory-based accounts, and within memory-based accounts the further distinction between DLT and the activation-based model. The experiments show that (i) antilocality effects as predicted by the expectation account appear only for high-capacity readers; (ii) increasing dependency length by interposing material that modifies the head of the dependency (the verb) produces stronger facilitation than increasing dependency length with material that does not modify the head; this is in agreement with the activation-based model but not with the expectation account; and (iii) a possible outcome of memory load on low-capacity readers is the increase in regressive saccades (locality effects as predicted by memory-based accounts) or, surprisingly, a speedup in the self-paced reading task; the latter consistent with good-enough parsing (Ferreira et al., 2002). In sum, the study suggests that individual differences in working memory capacity play a role in dependency resolution, and that some of the aspects of dependency resolution can be best explained with the activation-based model together with a prediction component.
Nicenboim, Bruno; Vasishth, Shravan; Gattei, Carolina; Sigman, Mariano; Kliegl, Reinhold
There is a wealth of evidence showing that increasing the distance between an argument and its head leads to more processing effort, namely, locality effects; these are usually associated with constraints in working memory (DLT: Gibson, 2000; activation-based model: Lewis and Vasishth, 2005). In SOV languages, however, the opposite effect has been found: antilocality (see discussion in Levy et al., 2013). Antilocality effects can be explained by the expectation-based approach as proposed by Levy (2008) or by the activation-based model of sentence processing as proposed by Lewis and Vasishth (2005). We report an eye-tracking and a self-paced reading study with sentences in Spanish together with measures of individual differences to examine the distinction between expectation- and memory-based accounts, and within memory-based accounts the further distinction between DLT and the activation-based model. The experiments show that (i) antilocality effects as predicted by the expectation account appear only for high-capacity readers; (ii) increasing dependency length by interposing material that modifies the head of the dependency (the verb) produces stronger facilitation than increasing dependency length with material that does not modify the head; this is in agreement with the activation-based model but not with the expectation account; and (iii) a possible outcome of memory load on low-capacity readers is the increase in regressive saccades (locality effects as predicted by memory-based accounts) or, surprisingly, a speedup in the self-paced reading task; the latter consistent with good-enough parsing (Ferreira et al., 2002). In sum, the study suggests that individual differences in working memory capacity play a role in dependency resolution, and that some of the aspects of dependency resolution can be best explained with the activation-based model together with a prediction component. PMID:25852623
Liang, Lina; Zhang, Zhikang
Camperi and Wang (Comput Neurosci 5:383–405, 1998) presented a network model for working memory that combines intrinsic cellular bistability with the recurrent network architecture of the neocortex. While Fall and Rinzel (Comput Neurosci 20:97–107, 2006) replaced this intrinsic bistability with a biological mechanism-Ca2+ release subsystem. In this study, we aim to further expand the above work. We integrate the traditional firing-rate network with Ca2+ subsystem-induced bistability, amend the synaptic weights and suggest that Ca2+ concentration only increase the efficacy of synaptic input but has nothing to do with the external input for the transient cue. We found that our network model maintained the persistent activity in response to a brief transient stimulus like that of the previous two models and the working memory performance was resistant to noise and distraction stimulus if Ca2+ subsystem was tuned to be bistable. PMID:22132045
Bledowski, Christoph; Rahm, Benjamin; Rowe, James B
Cognition depends critically on working memory, the active representation of a limited number of items over short periods of time. In addition to the maintenance of information during the course of cognitive processing, many tasks require that some of the items in working memory become transiently more important than others. Based on cognitive models of working memory, we hypothesized two complementary essential cognitive operations to achieve this: a selection operation that retrieves the most relevant item, and an updating operation that changes the focus of attention onto it. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-resolution oculometry, and behavioral analysis, we demonstrate that these two operations are functionally and neuroanatomically dissociated. Updating the attentional focus elicited transient activation in the caudal superior frontal sulcus and posterior parietal cortex. In contrast, increasing demands on selection selectively modulated activation in rostral superior frontal sulcus and posterior cingulate/precuneus. We conclude that prioritizing one memory item over others invokes independent mechanisms of mnemonic retrieval and attentional focusing, each with its distinct neuroanatomical basis within frontal and parietal regions. These support the developing understanding of working memory as emerging from the interaction between memory and attentional systems.
Schoofs, Daniela; Preuss, Diana; Wolf, Oliver T
In contrast to the substantial number of studies investigating the effects of stress on declarative memory, effects of stress on working memory have received less attention. We compared working memory (numerical n-back task with single digits) in 40 men exposed either to psychosocial stress (Trier Social Stress Test (TSST)) or a control condition. Task difficulty was varied using two conditions (2-back vs. 3-back). Salivary cortisol (as a marker of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity) and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA as a marker of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity) were assessed immediately before and three times after the stress or control condition. As expected stress resulted in an increase in cortisol, sAA, and negative affect. Subjects exposed to stress showed significant working memory impairments in both workload conditions. The analysis of variance indicated a main effect of stress for reaction time as well as accuracy. In addition, for reaction time a stress-block interaction occurred. Follow up tests revealed that only during the first block at each level of difficulty performance was significantly impaired by stress. Thus, the effects of stress became smaller the longer the task was performed. Results provide further evidence for impaired working memory after acute stress and illustrate the time course of this phenomenon.
A Long-Term Memory Competitive Process Model of a Common Procedural Error, Part II: Working Memory Load and Capacity Franklin P. Tamborello, II...00-00-2013 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE A Long-Term Memory Competitive Process Model of a Common Procedural Error, Part II: Working Memory Load and...07370024.2011.601692 Tamborello, F. P., & Trafton, J. G. (2013). A long-term competitive process model of a common procedural error. In Proceedings of the 35th
Zanto, Theodore P; Chadick, James Z; Gazzaley, Adam
Alpha band (8-12 Hz) phase dynamics in the visual cortex are thought to reflect fluctuations in cortical excitability that influences perceptual processing. As such, visual stimuli are better detected when their onset is concurrent with specific phases of the alpha cycle. However, it is unclear whether alpha phase differentially influences cognitive performance at specific times relative to stimulus onset (i.e., is the influence of phase maximal before, at, or after stimulus onset?). To address this, participants performed a delayed-recognition, working memory (WM) task for visual motion direction during two separate visits. The first visit utilized functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) imaging to identify neural regions associated with task performance. Replicating previous studies, fMRI data showed engagement of visual cortical area V5, as well as a prefrontal cortical region, the inferior frontal junction (IFJ). During the second visit, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied separately to both the right IFJ and right V5 (with the vertex as a control region) while electroencephalography (EEG) was simultaneously recorded. During each trial, a single pulse of TMS (spTMS) was applied at one of six time points (-200, -100, -50, 0, 80, 160 ms) relative to the encoded stimulus onset. Results demonstrated a relationship between the phase of the posterior alpha signal prior to stimulus encoding and subsequent response times to the memory probe two seconds later. Specifically, spTMS to V5, and not the IFJ or vertex, yielded faster response times, indicating improved WM performance, when delivered during the peak, compared to the trough, of the alpha cycle, but only when spTMS was applied 100 ms prior to stimulus onset. These faster responses to the probe correlated with decreased early event related potential (ERP) amplitudes (i.e., P1) to the probe stimuli. Moreover, participants that were least affected by spTMS exhibited greater functional connectivity
Rabinovich, Mikhail I.; Sokolov, Yury; Kozma, Robert
Psychiatric disorders are often caused by partial heterogeneous disinhibition in cognitive networks, controlling sequential and spatial working memory (SWM). Such dynamic connectivity changes suggest that the normal relationship between the neuronal components within the network deteriorates. As a result, competitive network dynamics is qualitatively altered. This dynamics defines the robust recall of the sequential information from memory and, thus, the SWM capacity. To understand pathological and non-pathological bifurcations of the sequential memory dynamics, here we investigate the model of recurrent inhibitory-excitatory networks with heterogeneous inhibition. We consider the ensemble of units with all-to-all inhibitory connections, in which the connection strengths are monotonically distributed at some interval. Based on computer experiments and studying the Lyapunov exponents, we observed and analyzed the new phenomenon—clustered sequential dynamics. The results are interpreted in the context of the winnerless competition principle. Accordingly, clustered sequential dynamics is represented in the phase space of the model by two weakly interacting quasi-attractors. One of them is similar to the sequential heteroclinic chain—the regular image of SWM, while the other is a quasi-chaotic attractor. Coexistence of these quasi-attractors means that the recall of the normal information sequence is intermittently interrupted by episodes with chaotic dynamics. We indicate potential dynamic ways for augmenting damaged working memory and other cognitive functions. PMID:25452717
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.
Schlichting, Andreas; Aslan, Alp; Holterman, Christoph; Bäuml, Karl-Heinz T
Selective retrieval of some studied items can both impair and improve recall of the other items. This study examined the role of working memory capacity (WMC) for the two effects of memory retrieval. Participants studied an item list consisting of predefined target and nontarget items. After study of the list, half of the participants performed an imagination task supposed to induce a change in mental context, whereas the other half performed a counting task which does not induce such context change. Following presentation of a second list, memory for the original list's target items was tested, either with or without preceding retrieval of the list's nontarget items. Consistent with previous work, preceding nontarget retrieval impaired target recall in the absence of the context change, but improved target recall in its presence. In particular, there was a positive relationship between WMC and the beneficial, but not the detrimental effect of memory retrieval. On the basis of the view that the beneficial effect of memory retrieval reflects context-reactivation processes, the results indicate that individuals with higher WMC are better able to capitalise on retrieval-induced context reactivation than individuals with lower WMC.
Traxler, Matthew J; Long, Debra L; Tooley, Kristen M; Johns, Clinton L; Zirnstein, Megan; Jonathan, Eunike
Theories of eye-movement control in reading should ultimately describe how differences in knowledge and cognitive abilities affect reading and comprehension. Current mathematical models of eye-movement control do not yet incorporate individual differences as a source of variation in reading, although developmental and group-difference effects have been studied. These models nonetheless provide an excellent foundation for describing and explaining how and why patterns of eye-movements differ across readers (e.g., Rayner, Chace, & Ashby, 2006). Our focus in this article is on two aspects of individual variation: global processing speed (e.g., Salthouse, 1996) and working-memory capacity (e.g., Just & Carpenter, 1992). Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2001), we tested the extent to which overall reading speed and working-memory capacity moderate the degree to which syntactic and semantic information affect fixation times. Previous published data (Traxler et al., 2005) showed that working memory capacity and syntactic complexity interacted to determine fixation times in an eye-movement monitoring experiment. In a new set of models based on this same data set, we found that working-memory capacity interacted with sentence-characteristic variables only when processing speed was not included in the model. We interpret these findings with respect to current accounts of sentence processing and suggest how they might be incorporated into eye-movement control models.
Traxler, Matthew J.; Long, Debra L.; Tooley, Kristen M.; Johns, Clinton L.; Zirnstein, Megan; Jonathan, Eunike
Theories of eye-movement control in reading should ultimately describe how differences in knowledge and cognitive abilities affect reading and comprehension. Current mathematical models of eye-movement control do not yet incorporate individual differences as a source of variation in reading, although developmental and group-difference effects have been studied. These models nonetheless provide an excellent foundation for describing and explaining how and why patterns of eye-movements differ across readers (e.g., Rayner, Chace, & Ashby, 2006). Our focus in this article is on two aspects of individual variation: global processing speed (e.g., Salthouse, 1996) and working-memory capacity (e.g., Just & Carpenter, 1992). Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2001), we tested the extent to which overall reading speed and working-memory capacity moderate the degree to which syntactic and semantic information affect fixation times. Previous published data (Traxler et al., 2005) showed that working memory capacity and syntactic complexity interacted to determine fixation times in an eye-movement monitoring experiment. In a new set of models based on this same data set, we found that working-memory capacity interacted with sentence-characteristic variables only when processing speed was not included in the model. We interpret these findings with respect to current accounts of sentence processing and suggest how they might be incorporated into eye-movement control models. PMID:26085919
Raghubar, Kimberly P; Mahone, E Mark; Yeates, Keith Owen; Cecil, Kim M; Makola, Monwabisi; Ris, M Douglas
Children are at risk for cognitive difficulties following the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumor. Longitudinal studies have consistently demonstrated declines on measures of intellectual functioning, and recently it has been proposed that specific neurocognitive processes underlie these changes, including working memory, processing speed, and attention. However, a fine-grained examination of the affected neurocognitive processes is required to inform intervention efforts. Radiation therapy (RT) impacts white matter integrity, likely affecting those cognitive processes supported by distributed neural networks. This study examined working memory and attention in children during the early delayed stages of recovery following surgical resection and RT. The participants included 27 children diagnosed with pediatric brain tumor, treated with (n = 12) or without (n = 15) RT, who completed experimental and standardized measures of working memory and attention (n-back and digit span tasks). Children treated with radiation performed less well than those who did not receive radiation on the n-back measure, though performance at the 0-back level was considerably poorer than would be expected for both groups, perhaps suggesting difficulties with more basic processes such as vigilance. Along these lines, marginal differences were noted on digit span forward. The findings are discussed with respect to models of attention and working memory, and the interplay between the two.
Costa, Vanessa; Fischer-Baum, Simon; Capasso, Rita; Miceli, Gabriele; Rapp, Brenda
A primary goal of working memory research has been to understand the mechanisms that permit working memory systems to effectively maintain the identity and order of the elements held in memory for sufficient time as to allow for their selection and transfer to subsequent processing stages. Based on the performance of two individuals with acquired dysgraphia affecting orthographic WM (the graphemic buffer) we present evidence of two distinct and dissociable functions of orthographic WM. One function is responsible for maintaining the temporal stability of letters held in orthographic WM, while the other is responsible for maintaining their representational distinctiveness. The failure to maintain temporal stability and representational distinctiveness give rise, respectively, to decay and interference effects that manifest themselves in distinctive error patterns, including distinct serial position effects. The findings we report have implications beyond our understanding of orthographic WM, as the need to maintain temporal stability and representational distinctiveness in WM is common across cognitive domains. PMID:22248210
Hardman, Kyle O.; Cowan, Nelson
Working memory (WM) is used for storing information in a highly accessible state so that other mental processes, such as reasoning, can use that information. Some WM tasks require that participants not only store information, but also reason about that information to perform optimally on the task. In this study, we used visual WM tasks that had…
Brady, Timothy F.; Konkle, Talia; Alvarez, George A.
The information that individuals can hold in working memory is quite limited, but researchers have typically studied this capacity using simple objects or letter strings with no associations between them. However, in the real world there are strong associations and regularities in the input. In an information theoretic sense, regularities…
Makovski, Tal; Sussman, Rachel; Jiang, Yuhong V.
Given a changing visual environment, and the limited capacity of visual working memory (VWM), the contents of VWM must be in constant flux. Using a change detection task, the authors show that VWM is subject to obligatory updating in the face of new information. Change detection performance is enhanced when the item that may change is…
Acheson, Daniel J.; MacDonald, Maryellen C.
Many accounts of working memory posit specialized storage mechanisms for the maintenance of serial order. We explore an alternative, that maintenance is achieved through temporary activation in the language production architecture. Four experiments examined the extent to which the phonological similarity effect can be explained as a sublexical…
Wang, Shinmin; Gathercole, Susan E.
The current study investigated the cause of the reported problems in working memory in children with reading difficulties. Verbal and visuospatial simple and complex span tasks, and digit span and reaction times tasks performed singly and in combination, were administered to 46 children with single word reading difficulties and 45 typically…
Graham, Alan R; Benninger, William B
Many articles have been written about the effectiveness of Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT). As Cogmed licensees, we have provided CWMT to more than 350 trainees and have collected pre- and post-training assessment data and parental feedback from about 280 child and adolescent trainees and their parents. On all nine measures of working memory and other selected executive functions, we have found statistically significant improvement. We also offer many of the comments and feedback that we have received from families about the changes they have experienced. There are limitations to the one group pre-test post-test design used in this study that need to be considered as the results are reviewed.
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.
Becerril, Karla; Barch, Deanna
Research on emotional processing in schizophrenia suggests relatively intact subjective responses to affective stimuli “in the moment.” However, neuroimaging evidence suggests diminished activation in brain regions associated with emotional processing in schizophrenia. We asked whether given a more vulnerable cognitive system in schizophrenia, individuals with this disorder would show increased or decreased modulation of working memory (WM) as a function of the emotional content of stimuli compared with healthy control subjects. In addition, we examined whether higher anhedonia levels were associated with a diminished impact of emotion on behavioral and brain activation responses. In the present study, 38 individuals with schizophrenia and 32 healthy individuals completed blocks of a 2-back WM task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning session. Blocks contained faces displaying either only neutral stimuli or neutral and emotional stimuli (happy or fearful faces), randomly intermixed and occurring both as targets and non-targets. Both groups showed higher accuracy but slower reaction time for negative compared to neutral stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia showed intact amygdala activity in response to emotionally evocative stimuli, but demonstrated altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampal activity while performing an emotionally loaded WM-task. Higher levels of social anhedonia were associated with diminished amygdala responses to emotional stimuli and increased DLPFC activity in individuals with schizophrenia. Emotional arousal may challenge dorsal-frontal control systems, which may have both beneficial and detrimental influences. Our findings suggest that disturbances in emotional processing in schizophrenia relate to alterations in emotion-cognition interactions rather than to the perception and subjective experience of emotion per se. PMID:20176860
Pyka, Martin; Hahn, Tim; Heider, Dominik; Krug, Axel; Sommer, Jens; Kircher, Tilo; Jansen, Andreas
The conceptual notion of the so-called resting state of the brain has been recently challenged by studies indicating a continuing effect of cognitive processes on subsequent rest. In particular, activity in posterior parietal and medial prefrontal areas has been found to be modulated by preceding experimental conditions. In this study, we investigated which brain areas show working memory dependent patterns in subsequent baseline periods and how specific they are for the preceding experimental condition. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, 94 subjects performed a letter-version of the n-back task with the conditions 0-back and 2-back followed by a low-level baseline in which subjects had to passively observe the letters appearing. In a univariate analysis, 2-back served as control condition while 0-back, baseline after 0-back and baseline after 2-back were modeled as regressors to test for activity changes between both baseline conditions. Additionally, we tested, using Gaussian process classifiers, the recognition of task condition from functional images acquired during baseline. Besides the expected activity changes in the precuneus and medial prefrontal cortex, we found differential activity in the thalamus, putamen, and postcentral gyrus that were affected by the preceding task. The multivariate analysis revealed that images of the subsequent baseline block contain task related patterns that yield a recognition rate of 70%. The results suggest that the influence of a cognitive task on subsequent baseline is strong and specific for some areas but not restricted to areas of the so-called default mode network.
Becerril, Karla; Barch, Deanna
Research on emotional processing in schizophrenia suggests relatively intact subjective responses to affective stimuli "in the moment." However, neuroimaging evidence suggests diminished activation in brain regions associated with emotional processing in schizophrenia. We asked whether given a more vulnerable cognitive system in schizophrenia, individuals with this disorder would show increased or decreased modulation of working memory (WM) as a function of the emotional content of stimuli compared with healthy control subjects. In addition, we examined whether higher anhedonia levels were associated with a diminished impact of emotion on behavioral and brain activation responses. In the present study, 38 individuals with schizophrenia and 32 healthy individuals completed blocks of a 2-back WM task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning session. Blocks contained faces displaying either only neutral stimuli or neutral and emotional stimuli (happy or fearful faces), randomly intermixed and occurring both as targets and non-targets. Both groups showed higher accuracy but slower reaction time for negative compared to neutral stimuli. Individuals with schizophrenia showed intact amygdala activity in response to emotionally evocative stimuli, but demonstrated altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and hippocampal activity while performing an emotionally loaded WM-task. Higher levels of social anhedonia were associated with diminished amygdala responses to emotional stimuli and increased DLPFC activity in individuals with schizophrenia. Emotional arousal may challenge dorsal-frontal control systems, which may have both beneficial and detrimental influences. Our findings suggest that disturbances in emotional processing in schizophrenia relate to alterations in emotion-cognition interactions rather than to the perception and subjective experience of emotion per se.
Waldhauser, Gerd T; Johansson, Mikael; Bäckström, Martin; Mecklinger, Axel
We aimed at replicating the finding that humans are able to suppress unwanted memories, and tested whether this ability varies with individual differences in working memory capacity, trait anxiety and defensiveness. In a think/no-think experiment, participants either recalled or suppressed previously learned words for 0, 8 or 16 times. Suppression did not have an overall detrimental effect on later recall performance. However, higher recall rates after repeated suppression were exclusively predicted by higher trait anxiety. These results are discussed in relation to current theories on anxiety and executive control.
Executive functioning (e.g., working memory) is tightly intertwined with self-regulation. For example, food cue-elicited craving has been found to impair working memory performance. Furthermore, current dieters have been found to show lower working memory performance than non-dieters. Recent research, however, suggests that it is crucial to consider dieting success in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating in order to reveal cognitive mechanisms that are associated with successful eating-related self-regulation. The current study investigated food cue-related working memory performance as a function of dieting status and dieting success in female students. Participants performed an n-back task with pictures of food and neutral objects. Reaction time in response to food pictures was slower than in response to neutral pictures, whereas omission errors did not differ between picture types. Current food craving was increased after performing the food block, but not after the neutral block. There was an indirect effect of current dieting status on higher food craving after the food block, which was mediated by slower reaction time to food vs. neutral pictures. Furthermore, higher dieting success was associated with fewer omission errors in the food vs. neutral block in current dieters. There were no relationships of restrained eating with current food craving and task performance. Results further highlight the need to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful dieting in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating when examining possible mechanisms of overeating or successful restraint. Although palatable food cues induce food craving regardless of dieting success, they may boost executive functioning in successful dieters, which helps them to overcome these temptations. PMID:28018277
Executive functioning (e.g., working memory) is tightly intertwined with self-regulation. For example, food cue-elicited craving has been found to impair working memory performance. Furthermore, current dieters have been found to show lower working memory performance than non-dieters. Recent research, however, suggests that it is crucial to consider dieting success in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating in order to reveal cognitive mechanisms that are associated with successful eating-related self-regulation. The current study investigated food cue-related working memory performance as a function of dieting status and dieting success in female students. Participants performed an n-back task with pictures of food and neutral objects. Reaction time in response to food pictures was slower than in response to neutral pictures, whereas omission errors did not differ between picture types. Current food craving was increased after performing the food block, but not after the neutral block. There was an indirect effect of current dieting status on higher food craving after the food block, which was mediated by slower reaction time to food vs. neutral pictures. Furthermore, higher dieting success was associated with fewer omission errors in the food vs. neutral block in current dieters. There were no relationships of restrained eating with current food craving and task performance. Results further highlight the need to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful dieting in addition to current dieting status or restrained eating when examining possible mechanisms of overeating or successful restraint. Although palatable food cues induce food craving regardless of dieting success, they may boost executive functioning in successful dieters, which helps them to overcome these temptations.
Uitvlugt, Mitchell G; Pleskac, Timothy J; Ravizza, Susan M
Distractions are ubiquitous; our brains are inundated with task-irrelevant information. Thus, to remember successfully, one must actively maintain relevant information and prevent distraction from entering working memory. Researchers suggest the basal ganglia-prefrontal pathways are vital to this process by acting as a working memory gate. Using Parkinson's disease as a model of frontostriatal functioning and with signal detection analyses, the present study aims to better characterize the contribution of frontostriatal pathways of this gating process and to determine how it operates across multiple domains. To achieve this, Parkinson's disease patients and healthy controls completed verbal and spatial working memory tasks consisting of three conditions: low-load without distraction; low-load with distraction; and high-load without distraction. Patients were tested both ON and OFF dopaminergic medication, allowing for assessment of the contribution of dorsal and ventral frontostriatal pathways. The results demonstrate that when medication is withheld, Parkinson's patients have a response bias to answer "NO" across all conditions and domains, supporting our hypothesis that the basal ganglia-prefrontal pathways allow or prevent updates of working memory. Contrastingly, medication status affects d' in the distraction condition but not in the high- or low-load conditions. We attribute this to stimulus valuation processes that were impaired by dopaminergic medication overdosing the ventral pathway. These findings are both consistent with the hypothesis that the working memory gate filters spatial and verbal information before it enters into the working memory system, adding support for the gate being a domain-general mechanism of the central executive.
van der Schaaf, Marieke E; Fallon, Sean J; Ter Huurne, Niels; Buitelaar, Jan; Cools, Roshan
Increased use of stimulant medication, such as methylphenidate, by healthy college students has raised questions about its cognitive-enhancing effects. Methylphenidate acts by increasing extracellular catecholamine levels and is generally accepted to remediate cognitive and reward deficits in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the cognitive-enhancing effects of such 'smart drugs' in the healthy population are still unclear. Here, we investigated effects of methylphenidate (Ritalin, 20 mg) on reward and punishment learning in healthy students (N=19) in a within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design. Results revealed that methylphenidate effects varied both as a function of task demands and as a function of baseline working memory capacity. Specifically, methylphenidate improved reward vs punishment learning in high-working memory subjects, whereas it impaired reward vs punishment learning in low-working memory subjects. These results contribute to our understanding of individual differences in the cognitive-enhancing effects of methylphenidate in the healthy population. Moreover, they highlight the importance of taking into account both inter- and intra-individual differences in dopaminergic drug research.
Xu, Z; Adam, K C S; Fang, X; Vogel, E K
Because of the central role of working memory capacity in cognition, many studies have used short measures of working memory capacity to examine its relationship to other domains. Here, we measured the reliability and stability of visual working memory capacity, measured using a single-probe change detection task. In Experiment 1, the participants (N = 135) completed a large number of trials of a change detection task (540 in total, 180 each of set sizes 4, 6, and 8). With large numbers of both trials and participants, reliability estimates were high (α > .9). We then used an iterative down-sampling procedure to create a look-up table for expected reliability in experiments with small sample sizes. In Experiment 2, the participants (N = 79) completed 31 sessions of single-probe change detection. The first 30 sessions took place over 30 consecutive days, and the last session took place 30 days later. This unprecedented number of sessions allowed us to examine the effects of practice on stability and internal reliability. Even after much practice, individual differences were stable over time (average between-session r = .76).
Collins, Anne G E; Brown, Jaime K; Gold, James M; Waltz, James A; Frank, Michael J
Previous research has shown that patients with schizophrenia are impaired in reinforcement learning tasks. However, behavioral learning curves in such tasks originate from the interaction of multiple neural processes, including the basal ganglia- and dopamine-dependent reinforcement learning (RL) system, but also prefrontal cortex-dependent cognitive strategies involving working memory (WM). Thus, it is unclear which specific system induces impairments in schizophrenia. We recently developed a task and computational model allowing us to separately assess the roles of RL (slow, cumulative learning) mechanisms versus WM (fast but capacity-limited) mechanisms in healthy adult human subjects. Here, we used this task to assess patients' specific sources of impairments in learning. In 15 separate blocks, subjects learned to pick one of three actions for stimuli. The number of stimuli to learn in each block varied from two to six, allowing us to separate influences of capacity-limited WM from the incremental RL system. As expected, both patients (n = 49) and healthy controls (n = 36) showed effects of set size and delay between stimulus repetitions, confirming the presence of working memory effects. Patients performed significantly worse than controls overall, but computational model fits and behavioral analyses indicate that these deficits could be entirely accounted for by changes in WM parameters (capacity and reliability), whereas RL processes were spared. These results suggest that the working memory system contributes strongly to learning impairments in schizophrenia.
Toepper, M; Gebhardt, H; Beblo, T; Thomas, C; Driessen, M; Bischoff, M; Blecker, C R; Vaitl, D; Sammer, G
Executive working memory operations are related to prefrontal regions in the healthy brain. Moreover, neuroimaging data provide evidence for a functional dissociation of ventrolateral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Most authors either suggest a modality-specific or a function-specific prefrontal cortex organization. In the present study we particularly aimed at the identification of different prefrontal cerebral areas that are involved in executive inhibitory processes during spatial working memory encoding. In an fMRI study (functional magnetic resonance imaging) we examined the neural correlates of spatial working memory processing by varying the amount of executive demands of the task. Twenty healthy volunteers performed the Corsi Block-Tapping test (CBT) during fMRI. The CBT requires the storage and reproduction of spatial target sequences. In a second condition, we presented an adapted version of the Block-Suppression-Test (BST). The BST is based on the original CBT but additionally requires the active suppression of visual distraction within the target sequences. In comparison to the CBT performance, particularly the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9) showed more activity during the BST condition. Our results show that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role for executive controlled inhibition of spatial distraction. Furthermore, our findings are in line with the processing model of a functional dorsolateral-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex organization.
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 5-year-olds performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on two rules and four rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands by comparing conditions that included conflict with those that did not. Bilingual children responded faster than monolinguals on all conditions and bilinguals were more accurate than monolinguals in responding to incongruent trials, confirming an advantage in aspects of executive functioning. In the second study, 125 children 5- or 7-year-olds performed a visuospatial span task that manipulated other executive function components through simultaneous or sequential presentation of items. Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals overall, but again there were larger language group effects in conditions that included more demanding executive function requirements. Together, the studies show an advantage for bilingual children in working memory that is especially evident when the task contains additional executive function demands.
Smith, Colin J.; Xiong, Guoxiang; Elkind, Jaclynn A.; Putnam, Brendan; Cohen, Akiva S.
More than 2.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Even mild to moderate TBI causes long-lasting neurological effects. Despite its prevalence, no therapy currently exists to treat the underlying cause of cognitive impairment suffered by TBI patients. Following lateral fluid percussion injury (LFPI), the most widely used experimental model of TBI, we investigated alterations in working memory and excitatory/inhibitory synaptic balance in the prefrontal cortex. LFPI impaired working memory as assessed with a T-maze behavioral task. Field excitatory postsynaptic potentials recorded in the prefrontal cortex were reduced in slices derived from brain-injured mice. Spontaneous and miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents onto layer 2/3 neurons were more frequent in slices derived from LFPI mice, while inhibitory currents onto layer 2/3 neurons were smaller after LFPI. Additionally, an increase in action potential threshold and concomitant decrease in firing rate was observed in layer 2/3 neurons in slices from injured animals. Conversely, no differences in excitatory or inhibitory synaptic transmission onto layer 5 neurons were observed; however, layer 5 neurons demonstrated a decrease in input resistance and action potential duration after LFPI. These results demonstrate synaptic and intrinsic alterations in prefrontal circuitry that may underlie working memory impairment caused by TBI. PMID:26617569
Morales, Julia; Calvo, Alejandra; Bialystok, Ellen
Two studies are reported comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children on tasks requiring different levels of working memory. In the first study, 56 children who were 5-years old performed a Simon-type task that manipulated working memory demands by comparing conditions based on 2-rules and 4-rules and manipulated conflict resolution demands by comparing conditions that included conflict with those that did not. Bilingual children outperformed monolinguals at both levels of conflict resolution and bilinguals were more accurate than monolinguals in responding to incongruent trials, confirming an advantage in aspects of executive functioning. In the second study, 125 children who were 5-years old or 7-years old performed a visuospatial span task that manipulated other executive function components through simultaneous or sequential presentation of items. Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals overall, but again there were larger language group effects in conditions that included more demanding executive function requirements. Together, the studies show an advantage for bilingual children in working memory that is especially evident when the task contains additional executive function demands. PMID:23059128
Brown, Jaime K.; Gold, James M.; Waltz, James A.; Frank, Michael J.
Previous research has shown that patients with schizophrenia are impaired in reinforcement learning tasks. However, behavioral learning curves in such tasks originate from the interaction of multiple neural processes, including the basal ganglia- and dopamine-dependent reinforcement learning (RL) system, but also prefrontal cortex-dependent cognitive strategies involving working memory (WM). Thus, it is unclear which specific system induces impairments in schizophrenia. We recently developed a task and computational model allowing us to separately assess the roles of RL (slow, cumulative learning) mechanisms versus WM (fast but capacity-limited) mechanisms in healthy adult human subjects. Here, we used this task to assess patients' specific sources of impairments in learning. In 15 separate blocks, subjects learned to pick one of three actions for stimuli. The number of stimuli to learn in each block varied from two to six, allowing us to separate influences of capacity-limited WM from the incremental RL system. As expected, both patients (n = 49) and healthy controls (n = 36) showed effects of set size and delay between stimulus repetitions, confirming the presence of working memory effects. Patients performed significantly worse than controls overall, but computational model fits and behavioral analyses indicate that these deficits could be entirely accounted for by changes in WM parameters (capacity and reliability), whereas RL processes were spared. These results suggest that the working memory system contributes strongly to learning impairments in schizophrenia. PMID:25297101
Rajsic, Jason; Wilson, Daryl E
Models of visual working memory (VWM) have benefitted greatly from the use of the delayed-matching paradigm. However, in this task, the ability to recall a probed feature is confounded with the ability to maintain the proper binding between the feature that is to be reported and the feature (typically location) that is used to cue a particular item for report. Given that location is typically used as a cue-feature, we used the delayed-estimation paradigm to compare memory for location to memory for color, rotating which feature was used as a cue and which was reported. Our results revealed several novel findings: 1) the likelihood of reporting a probed object's feature was superior when reporting location with a color cue than when reporting color with a location cue; 2) location report errors were composed entirely of swap errors, with little to no random location reports; and 3) both colour and location reports greatly benefitted from the presence of nonprobed items at test. This last finding suggests that it is uncertainty over the bindings between locations and colors at memory retrieval that drive swap errors, not at encoding. We interpret our findings as consistent with a representational architecture that nests remembered object features within remembered locations.
Kumar, S.; Joseph, S.; Pearson, B.; Teki, S.; Fox, Z. V.; Griffiths, T. D.; Husain, M.
A prevalent view of working memory (WM) considers it to be capacity-limited, fixed to a set number of items. However, recent shared resource models of WM have challenged this “quantized” account using measures of recall precision. Although this conceptual framework can account for several features of visual WM, it remains to be established whether it also applies to auditory WM. We used a novel pitch-matching paradigm to probe participants’ memory of pure tones in sequences of varying length, and measured their precision of recall. Crucially, this provides an index of the variability of memory representation around its true value, rather than a binary “yes/no” recall measure typically used in change detection paradigms. We show that precision of auditory WM varies with both memory load and serial order. Moreover, auditory WM resources can be prioritized to cued items, improving precision of recall, but with a concomitant cost to other items, consistent with a resource model account. PMID:23486527
Wang, J Jessica; Apperly, Ian A
Direct gaze is a salient social cue that affords rapid detection. A body of research suggests that direct gaze enhances performance on memory tasks (e.g., Hood, Macrae, Cole-Davies, & Dias, Developmental Science, 1, 67-71, 2003). Nonetheless, other studies highlight the disruptive effect direct gaze has on concurrent cognitive processes (e.g., Conty, Gimmig, Belletier, George, & Huguet, Cognition, 115(1), 133-139, 2010). This discrepancy raises questions about the effects direct gaze may have on concurrent memory tasks. We addressed this topic by employing a change detection paradigm, where participants retained information about the color of small sets of agents. Experiment 1 revealed that, despite the irrelevance of the agents' eye gaze to the memory task at hand, participants were worse at detecting changes when the agents looked directly at them compared to when the agents looked away. Experiment 2 showed that the disruptive effect was relatively short-lived. Prolonged presentation of direct gaze led to recovery from the initial disruption, rather than a sustained disruption on change detection performance. The present study provides the first evidence that direct gaze impairs visual working memory with a rapidly-developing yet short-lived effect even when there is no need to attend to agents' gaze.
Berg, Derek H
The cognitive underpinnings of arithmetic calculation in children are noted to involve working memory; however, cognitive processes related to arithmetic calculation and working memory suggest that this relationship is more complex than stated previously. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relative contributions of processing speed, short-term memory, working memory, and reading to arithmetic calculation in children. Results suggested four important findings. First, processing speed emerged as a significant contributor of arithmetic calculation only in relation to age-related differences in the general sample. Second, processing speed and short-term memory did not eliminate the contribution of working memory to arithmetic calculation. Third, individual working memory components--verbal working memory and visual-spatial working memory--each contributed unique variance to arithmetic calculation in the presence of all other variables. Fourth, a full model indicated that chronological age remained a significant contributor to arithmetic calculation in the presence of significant contributions from all other variables. Results are discussed in terms of directions for future research on working memory in arithmetic calculation.
Unsworth, Nash; Fukuda, Keisuke; Awh, Edward; Vogel, Edward K
Several theories have been put forth to explain the relation between working memory (WM) and gF. Unfortunately, no single factor has been shown to fully account for the relation between these two important constructs. In the current study we tested whether multiple factors (capacity, attention control, and secondary memory) would collectively account for the relation. A large number of participants performed multiple measures of each construct and latent variable analyses were used to examine the data. The results demonstrated that capacity, attention control, and secondary memory were uniquely related to WM storage, WM processing, and gF. Importantly, the three factors completely accounted for the relation between WM (both processing and storage) and gF. Thus, although storage and processing make independent contributions to gF, both of these contributions are accounted for by variation in capacity, attention control and secondary memory. These results are consistent with the multifaceted view of WM, suggesting that individual differences in capacity, attention control, and secondary memory jointly account for individual differences in WM and its relation with gF.
Sprague, Thomas C; Ester, Edward F; Serences, John T
Summary Working memory (WM) enables the maintenance and manipulation of information relevant to behavioral goals. Variability in WM ability is strongly correlated with IQ  and WM function is impaired in many neurological and psychiatric disorders [2, 3], suggesting that this system is a core component of higher cognition. WM storage is thought to be mediated by patterns of activity in neural populations selective for specific properties (e.g., color, orientation, location, motion direction) of memoranda [4–13]. Accordingly, many models propose that differences in the amplitude of these population responses should be related to differences in memory performance [14, 15]. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an image reconstruction technique based on a spatial encoding model  to visualize and quantify population-level memory representations supported by multivoxel patterns of activation within regions of occipital, parietal and frontal cortex while participants precisely remembered the location(s) of 0, 1, or 2 small stimuli. We successfully reconstructed images containing representations of the remembered – but not forgotten – locations within regions of occipital, parietal, and frontal cortex using delay-period activation patterns. Critically, the amplitude of representations of remembered locations and behavioral performance both decreased with increasing memory load. These results suggest that differences in visual WM performance between memory load conditions are mediated by changes in the fidelity of large-scale population response profiles distributed across multiple areas of human cortex. PMID:25201683
Toril, Pilar; Reales, José M.; Mayas, Julia; Ballesteros, Soledad
In this longitudinal intervention study with experimental and control groups, we investigated the effects of video game training on the visuospatial working memory (WM) and episodic memory of healthy older adults. Participants were 19 volunteer older adults, who received 15 1-h video game training sessions with a series of video games selected from a commercial package (Lumosity), and a control group of 20 healthy older adults. The results showed that the performance of the trainees improved significantly in all the practiced video games. Most importantly, we found significant enhancements after training in the trained group and no change in the control group in two computerized tasks designed to assess visuospatial WM, namely the Corsi blocks task and the Jigsaw puzzle task. The episodic memory and short-term memory of the trainees also improved. Gains in some WM and episodic memory tasks were maintained during a 3-month follow-up period. These results suggest that the aging brain still retains some degree of plasticity, and that video game training might be an effective intervention tool to improve WM and other cognitive functions in older adults. PMID:27199723
Toril, Pilar; Reales, José M; Mayas, Julia; Ballesteros, Soledad
In this longitudinal intervention study with experimental and control groups, we investigated the effects of video game training on the visuospatial working memory (WM) and episodic memory of healthy older adults. Participants were 19 volunteer older adults, who received 15 1-h video game training sessions with a series of video games selected from a commercial package (Lumosity), and a control group of 20 healthy older adults. The results showed that the performance of the trainees improved significantly in all the practiced video games. Most importantly, we found significant enhancements after training in the trained group and no change in the control group in two computerized tasks designed to assess visuospatial WM, namely the Corsi blocks task and the Jigsaw puzzle task. The episodic memory and short-term memory of the trainees also improved. Gains in some WM and episodic memory tasks were maintained during a 3-month follow-up period. These results suggest that the aging brain still retains some degree of plasticity, and that video game training might be an effective intervention tool to improve WM and other cognitive functions in older adults.
Oakhill, Jane; Yuill, Nicola; Garnham, Alan
Working memory predicts children's reading comprehension but it is not clear whether this relation is due to a modality-specific or general working memory. This study, which investigated the relations between children's reading skills and working memory (WM) abilities in 3 modalities, extends previous work by including measures of both reading…
Won, Bo-Yeong; Jiang, Yuhong V.
Recent empirical and theoretical work has depicted a close relationship between visual attention and visual working memory. For example, rehearsal in spatial working memory depends on spatial attention, whereas adding a secondary spatial working memory task impairs attentional deployment in visual search. These findings have led to the proposal…
Crane, Laura; Goddard, Lorna; Pring, Linda
Autobiographical memory difficulties have been widely reported in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of the current study was to explore the potential correlates of autobiographical memory performance (including depressed mood, rumination, working memory and theory of mind) in adults with ASD, relative to a group of typical adults…
Martin, Katherine I.; Ellis, Nick C.
This study analyzed phonological short-term memory (PSTM) and working memory (WM) and their relationship with vocabulary and grammar learning in an artificial foreign language. Nonword repetition, nonword recognition, and listening span were used as memory measures. Participants learned the singular forms of vocabulary for an artificial foreign…
Banks, Jonathan B; Tartar, Jaime L; Tamayo, Brittney A
A large and growing body of research demonstrates the impact of psychological stress on working memory. However, the typical study approach tests the effects of a single biological or psychological factor on changes in working memory. The current study attempted to move beyond the standard single-factor assessment by examining the impact of 2 possible factors in stress-related working memory impairments. To this end, 60 participants completed a working memory task before and after either a psychological stressor writing task or a control writing task and completed measures of both cortisol and mind wandering. We also included a measure of state anxiety to examine the direct and indirect effect on working memory. We found that mind wandering mediated the relationship between state anxiety and working memory at the baseline measurement. This indirect relationship was moderated by cortisol, such that the impact of mind wandering on working memory increased as cortisol levels increased. No overall working memory impairment was observed following the stress manipulation, but increases in state anxiety and mind wandering were observed. State anxiety and mind wandering independently mediated the relationship between change in working memory and threat perception. The indirect paths resulted in opposing effects on working memory. Combined, the findings from this study suggest that cortisol enhances the impact of mind wandering on working memory, that state anxiety may not always result in stress-related working memory impairments, and that high working memory performance can protect against mind wandering.
Sutin, Angelina R.; Stockdale, Gary D.
The present research reports two studies that examine the relation between non-pathological trait dissociation and the subjective affect, motivation, and phenomenology of self-defining memories. In Study 1 (N=293), participants retrieved and rated the emotional and motivational experience of a general and a positive and negative achievement-related memory. Study 2 (N=449) extended these ratings to relationship-related memories and the phenomenological experience of the memory. Dissociation was associated with incongruent affect in valenced memories (e.g., positive affect in a negative memory) and memories that were visually incoherent and saturated with power motivation, hubristic pride, and shame, regardless of valence or domain. The present findings demonstrate that autobiographical memories, which integrate emotional, motivational, and phenomenological components, reflect the emotional and motivational processes inherent to dissociation. PMID:21204840
Brito, Natalie H.; Grenell, Amanda; Barr, Rachel
The specificity of the bilingual advantage in memory was examined by testing groups of monolingual, bilingual, and trilingual 24-month-olds on tasks tapping cued recall, memory generalization and working memory. For the cued recall and memory generalization conditions, there was a 24-h delay between time of encoding and time of retrieval. In addition to the memory tasks, parent-toddler dyads completed a picture-book reading task, in order to observe emotional responsiveness, and a parental report of productive vocabulary. Results indicated no difference between language groups on cued recall, working memory, emotional responsiveness, or productive vocabulary, but a significant difference was found in the memory generalization condition with only the bilingual group outperforming the baseline control group. These results replicate and extend results from past studies (Brito and Barr, 2012, 2014; Brito et al., 2014) and suggest a bilingual advantage specific to memory generalization. PMID:25520686
Nakagawa, Seishu; Takeuchi, Hikaru; Taki, Yasuyuki; Nouchi, Rui; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Kotozaki, Yuka; Miyauchi, Carlos M.; Iizuka, Kunio; Yokoyama, Ryoichi; Shinada, Takamitsu; Yamamoto, Yuki; Hanawa, Sugiko; Araki, Tsuyoshi; Kunitoki, Keiko; Sassa, Yuko; Kawashima, Ryuta
Poor sleep quality negatively affects memory performance, and working memory in particular. We investigated sleep habits related to sleep quality including sleep duration, daytime nap duration, nap frequency, and dream content recall frequency (DCRF). Declarative working memory can be subdivided into verbal working memory (VWM) and visuospatial working memory (VSWM). We hypothesized that sleep habits would have different effects on VWM and VSWM. To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate differences between VWM and VSWM related to daytime nap duration, nap frequency, and DCRF. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that the effects of duration and frequency of daytime naps and DCRF on VWM and VSWM differed according to sex. We assessed 779 healthy right-handed individuals (434 males and 345 females; mean age: 20.7 ± 1.8 years) using a digit span forward and backward VWM task, a forward and backward VSWM task, and sleep habits scales. A correlation analysis was used to test the relationships between VWM capacity (VWMC) and VSWM capacity (VSWMC) scores and sleep duration, nap duration, nap frequency, and DCRF. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with VWMC and VSWMC scores and to identify sex-related differences. We found significant positive correlations between VSWMC and nap duration and DCRF, and between VWMC and sleep duration in all subjects. Furthermore, we found that working memory capacity (WMC) was positively correlated with nap duration in males and with sleep duration in females, and DCRF was positively correlated with VSWMC in females. Our finding of sex-related differences in the effects of sleep habits on WMC has not been reported previously. The associations between WMC and sleep habits differed according to sex because of differences in the underlying neural correlates of VWM and VSWM, and effectiveness of the sleep habits in males and females. PMID:27516751
Nakagawa, Seishu; Takeuchi, Hikaru; Taki, Yasuyuki; Nouchi, Rui; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Kotozaki, Yuka; Miyauchi, Carlos M; Iizuka, Kunio; Yokoyama, Ryoichi; Shinada, Takamitsu; Yamamoto, Yuki; Hanawa, Sugiko; Araki, Tsuyoshi; Kunitoki, Keiko; Sassa, Yuko; Kawashima, Ryuta
Poor sleep quality negatively affects memory performance, and working memory in particular. We investigated sleep habits related to sleep quality including sleep duration, daytime nap duration, nap frequency, and dream content recall frequency (DCRF). Declarative working memory can be subdivided into verbal working memory (VWM) and visuospatial working memory (VSWM). We hypothesized that sleep habits would have different effects on VWM and VSWM. To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate differences between VWM and VSWM related to daytime nap duration, nap frequency, and DCRF. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that the effects of duration and frequency of daytime naps and DCRF on VWM and VSWM differed according to sex. We assessed 779 healthy right-handed individuals (434 males and 345 females; mean age: 20.7 ± 1.8 years) using a digit span forward and backward VWM task, a forward and backward VSWM task, and sleep habits scales. A correlation analysis was used to test the relationships between VWM capacity (VWMC) and VSWM capacity (VSWMC) scores and sleep duration, nap duration, nap frequency, and DCRF. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with VWMC and VSWMC scores and to identify sex-related differences. We found significant positive correlations between VSWMC and nap duration and DCRF, and between VWMC and sleep duration in all subjects. Furthermore, we found that working memory capacity (WMC) was positively correlated with nap duration in males and with sleep duration in females, and DCRF was positively correlated with VSWMC in females. Our finding of sex-related differences in the effects of sleep habits on WMC has not been reported previously. The associations between WMC and sleep habits differed according to sex because of differences in the underlying neural correlates of VWM and VSWM, and effectiveness of the sleep habits in males and females.
Miller, Courtney A; Campbell, Susan L; Sweatt, J David
A clear understanding is developing concerning the importance of epigenetic-related molecular mechanisms in transcription-dependent long-term memory formation. Chromatin modification, in particular histone acetylation, is associated with transcriptional activation, and acetylation of histone 3 (H3) occurs in Area CA1 of the hippocampus following contextual fear conditioning training. Conversely, DNA methylation is associated with transcriptional repression, but is also dynamically regulated in Area CA1 following training. We recently reported that inhibition of the enzyme responsible for DNA methylation, DNA methyltransferase (DNMT), in the adult rat hippocampus blocks behavioral memory formation. Here, we report that DNMT inhibition also blocks the concomitant memory-associated H3 acetylation, without affecting phosphorylation of its upstream regulator, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Interestingly, the DNMT inhibitor-induced deficit in memory consolidation, along with deficits in long-term potentiation, can be rescued by pharmacologically increasing levels of histone acetylation prior to DNMT inhibition. These observations suggest that DNMT activity is not only necessary for memory and plasticity, but that DNA methylation may work in concert with histone modifications to regulate plasticity and memory formation in the adult rat hippocampus.
Alloway, Tracy Packiam
The main objective of present study was to investigate whether the patterns of working memory performance differ as a function of attention and motor difficulties, and whether children with ADHD and DCD could be reliably discriminated on the basis of their memory deficits. A related aim was to investigate the link between their working memory profiles and academic attainment. Fifty children with ADHD-Combined, 55 children with DCD, and an age-matched group of 50 typically developing children with average working memory were assessed on standardized measures of working memory, IQ, and academic attainment (reading, spelling, comprehension, and math). The normal controls performed significantly better than both clinical groups on all working memory tests. Specific patterns emerged in the memory profile of the clinical groups: The children with DCD had a depressed performance in all working memory tests, with particularly low scores in visuospatial memory tasks; children with ADHD performed within age-expected levels in short-term memory but had a pervasive working memory deficit that impacted both verbal and visuospatial domains. The clinical groups could reliably be discriminated on the basis of their short-term memory scores. Their learning profiles were similar. It is possible that the working memory profiles of the children with ADHD and DCD are influenced by distinct underlying cognitive mechanisms, rather than a general neurodevelopmental delay. Despite these distinctive patterns of memory performance, both clinical groups performed similarly on academic attainments, suggesting that memory may underlie learning difficulties, independent of related clinical disorders.
de Carvalho, Carolina A. F.; Kida, Adriana de S. B.; Capellini, Simone A.; de Avila, Clara R. B.
Purpose: To investigate parameters related to fluency, reading comprehension and phonological processing (operational and short-term memory) and identify potential correlation between the variables in Dyslexia and in the absence of reading difficulties. Method: One hundred and fifteen students from the third to eighth grade of elementary school were grouped into a Control Group (CG) and Group with Dyslexia (GDys). Reading of words, pseudowords and text (decoding); listening and reading comprehension; phonological short-term and working memory (repetition of pseudowords and Digit Span) were evaluated. Results: The comparison of the groups showed significant differences in decoding, phonological short-term memory (repetition of pseudowords) and answers to text-connecting questions (TC) on reading comprehension, with the worst performances identified for GDys. In this group there were negative correlations between pseudowords repetition and TC answers and total score, both on listening comprehension. No correlations were found between operational and short-term memory (Digit Span) and parameters of fluency and reading comprehension in dyslexia. For the sample without complaint, there were positive correlations between some parameters of reading fluency and repetition of pseudowords and also between answering literal questions in listening comprehension and repetition of digits on the direct and reverse order. There was no correlation with the parameters of reading comprehension. Conclusion: GDys and CG showed similar performance in listening comprehension and in understanding of explicit information and gap-filling inference on reading comprehension. Students of GDys showed worst performance in reading decoding, phonological short-term memory (pseudowords) and on inferences that depends on textual cohesion understanding in reading. There were negative correlations between pseudowords repetition and TC answers and total score, both in listening comprehension. PMID
Nęcka, Edward; Żak, Piotr; Gruszka, Aleksandra
Available body of evidence concerning the relationship between insight problem solving and working memory (WM) is ambiguous. Several authors propose that restructuring of the problem representation requires controlled search processes, which needs planning and involvement of WM. Other researchers suggest that the restructuring is achieved through the automatic spread of activation in long-term memory, assigning a limited role to WM capacity. In the present study we examined the correlations between insight problem solving performance and measures of WM updating function (n-back task), including general intelligence (as measured by Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices). The results revealed that updating function shared up to 30% of variance with the insight problem task performance, even when the influence of general mental ability was controlled for. These results suggest that insight problem solving is constrained by individual ability to update the content of WM. PMID:26973549
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared with their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared with their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared with their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities. PMID:25554726
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared with their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared with their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared with their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities.
Alt, Mary; DeDe, Gayle; Olson, Sarah; Shehorn, James
Purpose We set out to examine the impact of perceptual, linguistic, and capacity demands on performance of verbal working-memory tasks. The Ease of Language Understanding model (Rönnberg et al., 2013) provides a framework for testing the dynamics of these interactions within the auditory-cognitive system. Methods Adult native speakers of English (n = 45) participated in verbal working-memory tasks requiring processing and storage of words involving different linguistic demands (closed/open set). Capacity demand ranged from 2 to 7 words per trial. Participants performed the tasks in quiet and in speech-spectrum-shaped noise. Separate groups of participants were tested at different signal-to-noise ratios. Word-recognition measures were obtained to determine effects of noise on intelligibility. Results Contrary to predictions, steady-state noise did not have an adverse effect on working-memory performance in every situation. Noise negatively influenced performance for the task with high linguistic demand. Of particular importance is the finding that the adverse effects of background noise were not confined to conditions involving declines in recognition. Conclusions Perceptual, linguistic, and cognitive demands can dynamically affect verbal working-memory performance even in a population of healthy young adults. Results suggest that researchers and clinicians need to carefully analyze task demands to understand the independent and combined auditory-cognitive factors governing performance in everyday listening situations. PMID:26384291
Mano, Quintino R.; Brown, Gregory G.; Bolden, Khalima; Aupperle, Robin; Sullivan, Sarah; Paulus, Martin P.; Stein, Murray B.
Accumulating evidence suggests that working memory load is an important factor for the interplay between cognitive and facial-affective processing. However, it is unclear how distraction caused by perception of faces interacts with load-related performance. We developed a modified version of the delayed match-to-sample task wherein task-irrelevant facial distracters were presented early in the rehearsal of pseudoword memoranda that varied incrementally in load size (1-syllable, 2-syllables, or 3-syllables). Facial distracters displayed happy, sad, or neutral expressions in Experiment 1 (N=60) and happy, fearful, or neutral expressions in Experiment 2 (N=29). Facial distracters significantly disrupted task performance in the intermediate load condition (2-syllable) but not in the low or high load conditions (1- and 3-syllables, respectively), an interaction replicated and generalised in Experiment 2. All facial distracters disrupted working memory in the intermediate load condition irrespective of valence, suggesting a primary and general effect of distraction caused by faces. However, sad and fearful faces tended to be less disruptive than happy faces, suggesting a secondary and specific valence effect. Working memory appears to be most vulnerable to social-emotional information at intermediate loads. At low loads, spare capacity is capable of accommodating the combinatorial load (1-syllable plus facial distracter), whereas high loads maximised capacity and deprived facial stimuli from occupying working memory slots to cause disruption. PMID:22928750
Vales, Catarina; Smith, Linda B.
Do words cue children’s visual attention, and if so, what are the relevant mechanisms? Across four experiments, 3-year-old children (N = 163) were tested in visual search tasks in which targets were cued with only a visual preview versus a visual preview and a spoken name. The experiments were designed to determine whether labels facilitated search times and to examine one route through which labels could have their effect: By influencing the visual working memory representation of the target. The targets and distractors were pictures of instances of basic-level known categories and the labels were the common name for the target category. We predicted that the label would enhance the visual working memory representation of the target object, guiding attention to objects that better matched the target representation. Experiments 1 and 2 used conjunctive search tasks, and Experiment 3 varied shape discriminability between targets and distractors. Experiment 4 compared the effects of labels to repeated presentations of the visual target, which should also influence the working memory representation of the target. The overall pattern fits contemporary theories of how the contents of visual working memory interact with visual search and attention, and shows that even in very young children heard words affect the processing of visual information. PMID:24720802
Wesley, Michael J.; Bickel, Warren K.
Background Previously we showed that working memory training decreased the discounting of future rewards in stimulant addicts without affecting a Go/NoGo task. While a relationship between delay discounting and working memory is consistent with other studies, the unique brain regions of plausible causality between these two abilities have yet to be determined. Methods Activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses were performed on foci from studies of delay discounting (DD = 449), working memory (WM = 452), finger tapping (FT = 450), and response inhibition (RI = 450). Activity maps from relatively less (FT) and more (RI) demanding executive tasks were contrasted with maps of DD and WM. Overlap analysis identified unique functional coincidence between DD and WM. Results The anterior cingulate cortex was engaged by all tasks. FT largely engaged motor-related brain areas. In addition to motor-related areas, RI engaged frontal brain regions. The right lateral prefrontal cortex was engaged by RI, DD and WM and was contrasted out of overlap maps. A functional cluster in the posterior portion of the left lateral prefrontal cortex emerged as the largest location of unique overlap between DD and WM. Conclusions A portion of the left lateral prefrontal cortex is a unique location where delay discounting and working memory processes overlap in the brain. This area, therefore, represents a therapeutic target for improving behaviors that rely on the integration of the recent past with the foreseeable future. PMID:24041504
Newman, Sharlene D; Malaia, Evie; Seo, Roy; Cheng, Hu
This study explores the interaction between working memory systems and language processing by examining how differences in working memory capacity (WMC) modulates neural activation levels and functional connectivity during sentence comprehension. The results indicate that two working memory systems may be involved in sentence comprehension, the verbal working memory system and the episodic buffer, but during different phases of the task. A sub-region of the left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 45) was correlated with WMC during the probe and not during sentence reading while the only region to reveal a correlation with WMC during sentence reading was the posterior cingulate/precuneus area, a region linked to event representation. In addition, functional connectivity analysis suggests that there were two distinct networks affected by WMC. The first was a semantic network that included the middle temporal cortex, an anterior region of the inferior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal region. The second included the posterior cingulate and BA 45 of the inferior frontal gyrus. We propose here that high capacity readers may generate an event representation of the sentence during reading that aids in comprehension and that this event representation involves the processing of the posterior cingulate cortex.
Vales, Catarina; Smith, Linda B
Do words cue children's visual attention, and if so, what are the relevant mechanisms? Across four experiments, 3-year-old children (N = 163) were tested in visual search tasks in which targets were cued with only a visual preview versus a visual preview and a spoken name. The experiments were designed to determine whether labels facilitated search times and to examine one route through which labels could have their effect: By influencing the visual working memory representation of the target. The targets and distractors were pictures of instances of basic-level known categories and the labels were the common name for the target category. We predicted that the label would enhance the visual working memory representation of the target object, guiding attention to objects that better matched the target representation. Experiments 1 and 2 used conjunctive search tasks, and Experiment 3 varied shape discriminability between targets and distractors. Experiment 4 compared the effects of labels to repeated presentations of the visual target, which should also influence the working memory representation of the target. The overall pattern fits contemporary theories of how the contents of visual working memory interact with visual search and attention, and shows that even in very young children heard words affect the processing of visual information.
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…
Monitoring is an executive function of working memory that serves to update novel information, focusing attention on task-relevant targets, and eliminating task-irrelevant noise. The present research used a verbal working memory task to examine how working memory capacity limits affect monitoring. Participants performed a Japanese listening span test that included maintenance of target words and listening comprehension. On each trial, participants responded to the target word and then immediately estimated confidence in recall performance for that word (metacognitive judgment). The results confirmed significant differences in monitoring accuracy between high and low capacity groups in a multi-task situation. That is, confidence judgments were superior in high vs. low capacity participants in terms of absolute accuracy and discrimination. The present research further investigated how memory load and interference affect underestimation of successful recall. The results indicated that the level of memory load that reduced word recall performance and led to an underconfidence bias varied according to participants' memory capacity. In addition, irrelevant information associated with incorrect true/ false decisions (secondary task) and word recall within the current trial impaired monitoring accuracy in both participant groups. These findings suggest that interference from unsuccessful decisions only influences low, but not high, capacity participants. Therefore, monitoring accuracy, which requires high working memory capacity, improves metacognitive abilities by inhibiting task-irrelevant noise and focusing attention on detecting task-relevant targets or useful retrieval cues, which could improve actual cognitive performance. PMID:26973577
Kharitonova, Maria; Winter, Warren; Sheridan, Margaret A
Working memory develops slowly: Even by age 8, children are able to maintain only half the number of items that adults can remember. Neural substrates that support performance on working memory tasks also have a slow developmental trajectory and typically activate to a lesser extent in children, relative to adults. Little is known about why younger participants elicit less neural activation. This may be due to maturational differences, differences in behavioral performance, or both. Here we investigate the neural correlates of working memory capacity in children (ages 5-8) and adults using a visual working memory task with parametrically increasing loads (from one to four items) using fMRI. This task allowed us to estimate working memory capacity limit for each group. We found that both age groups increased the activation of frontoparietal networks with increasing working memory loads, until working memory capacity was reached. Because children's working memory capacity limit was half of that for adults, the plateau occurred at lower loads for children. Had a parametric increase in load not been used, this would have given an impression of less activation overall and less load-dependent activation for children relative to adults. Our findings suggest that young children and adults recruit similar frontoparietal networks at working memory loads that do not exceed capacity and highlight the need to consider behavioral performance differences when interpreting developmental differences in neural activation.
Hayes, John R.; Chenoweth, N. Ann
Generally, researchers agree that verbal working memory plays an important role in cognitive processes involved in writing. However, there is disagreement about which cognitive processes make use of working memory. Kellogg has proposed that verbal working memory is involved in translating but not in editing or producing (i.e., typing) text. In…
Alloway, Tracy Packiam; Alloway, Ross G.
There is growing evidence for the relationship between working memory and academic attainment. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether working memory is simply a proxy for IQ or whether there is a unique contribution to learning outcomes. The findings indicate that children's working memory skills at 5 years of age were the best…
Swanson, H. Lee
Examined whether age-related working memory deficits in learning disabled (LD) readers across four age groups (7, 10, 13, and 20) reflected retrieval efficiency or storage capacity problems. Found that LD readers' working memory performance was inferior to skilled readers' on verbal and visual-spatial working memory tasks across all ages.…
Baker, S.; Hooper, S.; Skinner, M.; Hatton, D.; Schaaf, J.; Ornstein, P.; Bailey, D.
Background: Working memory problems have been targeted as core deficits in individuals with Fragile X syndrome (FXS); however, there have been few studies that have examined working memory in young boys with FXS, and even fewer studies that have studied the working memory performance of young boys with FXS across different degrees of complexity.…
Autin, Frederique; Croizet, Jean-Claude
Working memory capacity, our ability to manage incoming information for processing purposes, predicts achievement on a wide range of intellectual abilities. Three randomized experiments (N = 310) tested the effectiveness of a brief psychological intervention designed to boost working memory efficiency (i.e., state working memory capacity) by…
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and…