Measuring the working memory and long-term memory representations that provide top-down control of attention

22 May 2013
Begin time: 
ZiF (Long Table Room)


Although theories of attention propose that target representations are stored in working memory to bias attention mechanisms, we lack direct evidence from humans supporting this hypothesis. I will discuss experiments using event-related potentials showing that when humans search complex visual scenes a representation of the target is maintained in visual working memory provided the identity of the searched-for item changes across trials. However, when the target identity is stable across trials we can watch these working memory ‘attentional templates’ handed off to long-term memory. I will also describe how we are localizing these electrophysiological effects in the working brain. This talk concludes by discussing our work using these methods to address questions about the nature of the memory representation that control attention in different contexts.