Neural interactions in working memory explain decreased recall precision and similarity-based feature repulsion

Johnson, Jeffrey, van Lamsweerde, Amanda, Dineva, Evelina and Spencer, John ORCID: (2022) Neural interactions in working memory explain decreased recall precision and similarity-based feature repulsion. Scientific Reports, 12. ISSN 2045-2322

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Over the last several years, the study of working memory (WM) for simple visual features (e.g., colors, orientations) has been dominated by perspectives that assume items in WM are stored independently of one another. Evidence has revealed, however, systematic biases in WM recall which suggest that items in WM interact during active maintenance. In the present study, we report two experiments that replicate a repulsion bias between metrically similar colors during active storage in WM. We also observed that metrically similar colors were stored with lower resolution than a unique color held actively in mind at the same time. To account for these effects, we report quantitative simulations of two novel neurodynamical models of WM. In both models, the unique behavioral signatures reported here emerge directly from laterally-inhibitory neural interactions that serve to maintain multiple, distinct neural representations throughout the WM delay period. Simulation results show that the full pattern of empirical findings was only obtained with a model that included an elaborated spatial pathway with sequential encoding of memory display items. We discuss implications of our findings for theories of visual working memory more generally.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The work described here was supported by grants from the US National Institute of Mental Health to J.P.S. (RO1 MH62480) and J.S.J. (R15 MH105866).
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2022 11:30
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:30
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-22328-4


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