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Reference: van Ede, F, Niklaus, M and Nobre, AC et al., (2017). Temporal expectations guide dynamic prioritization in visual working memory through attenuated α oscillations. Journal of Neuroscience, 37 (2), 437-445.Citable link to this page:


Temporal expectations guide dynamic prioritization in visual working memory through attenuated α oscillations

Abstract: Although working memory is generally considered a highly dynamic mnemonic store, popular laboratory tasks used to understand its psychological and neural mechanisms (such as change detection and continuous reproduction) often remain relatively static, involving the retention of a set number of items throughout a shared delay interval. In the current study, we investigated visual working memory in a more dynamic setting, and assessed the following: (1) whether internally guided temporal expectations can dynamically and reversibly prioritize individual mnemonic items at specific times at which they are deemed most relevant; and (2) the neural substrates that support such dynamic prioritization. Participants encoded two differently colored oriented bars into visual working memory to retrieve the orientation of one bar with a precision judgment when subsequently probed. To test for the flexible temporal control to access and retrieve remembered items, we manipulated the probability for each of the two bars to be probed over time, and recorded EEG in healthy human volunteers. Temporal expectations had a profound influence on working memory performance, leading to faster access times as well as more accurate orientation reproductions for items that were probed at expected times. Furthermore, this dynamic prioritization was associated with the temporally specific attenuation of contralateral α (8-14 Hz) oscillations that, moreover, predicted working memory access times on a trial-by-trial basis. We conclude that attentional prioritization in working memory can be dynamically steered by internally guided temporal expectations, and is supported by the attenuation of α oscillations in task-relevant sensory brain areas. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: In dynamic, everyday-like, environments, flexible goal-directed behavior requires that mental representations that are kept in an active (working memory) store are dynamic, too. We investigated working memory in a more dynamic setting than is conventional, and demonstrate that expectations about when mnemonic items are most relevant can dynamically and reversibly prioritize these items in time. Moreover, we uncover a neural substrate of such dynamic prioritization in contralateral visual brain areas and show that this substrate predicts working memory retrieval times on a trial-by-trial basis. This places the experimental study of working memory, and its neuronal underpinnings, in a more dynamic and ecologically valid context, and provides new insights into the neural implementation of attentional prioritization within working memory.

Publication status:PublishedPeer Review status:Peer reviewedVersion:Publisher's VersionDate of acceptance:2016-09-16 Funder: National Institute for Health Research   Notes:Copyright © 2017 van Ede et al.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution LicenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International,which permits unrestricted use,distribution and reproduction in anymedium provided that the original work is properly attributed.

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience

Publisher Website: http://www.sfn.org/

Journal: Journal of Neurosciencesee more from them

Publication Website: http://www.jneurosci.org/

Volume: 37

Issue: 2

Issue Date: 2017-01-11


Doi: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2272-16.2017

Eissn: 1529-2401

Issn: 0270-6474

Uuid: uuid:96f1d7b8-83cb-4b07-9452-2d8c36fa2ca4

Urn: uri:96f1d7b8-83cb-4b07-9452-2d8c36fa2ca4

Pubs-id: pubs:671002 Item Description

Type: journal-article;

Language: eng

Version: Publisher's VersionKeywords: attention neuronal oscillations temporal attention working memory α oscillations


Author: van Ede, F - facultyOxford, MSD, Psychiatry fundingRoyal Society grantNumberNF140330 - - - Niklaus, M - fundingSwiss National Sci

Source: https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:96f1d7b8-83cb-4b07-9452-2d8c36fa2ca4


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