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Electrophysiological and neuroanatomical correlates of precision and capacity of working memory

Machizawa, M; (2012) Electrophysiological and neuroanatomical correlates of precision and capacity of working memory. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Cognitive limits of working memory play a pivotal role in many varieties of mental operations in our daily life. The previously separate literatures on visual attention and on visual working memory are converging, with growing interest in how visual attention may relate to visual short-term memory and how hemispheric specificities constrain such higher cognitive functions. In addition, it has been debated whether the numbers of items (quantity) or the precision with which they are retained (quality) constrain human visual working memory. With psychophysical, electrophysiological, and neuroanatomical imaging approaches, I provide evidence for attentional and hemispheric interplays contributing to the maintenance of working memory in vision and audition. Here, I report exploratory analysis of how individual behavioural differences in separable aspects of attention may relate to particular aspects of visual working memory (in Chapter 2) and how structure of human parietal areas are associated with individual differences in the number and the precision of representations in vision (in Chapter 3) and audition (in Chapter 5). I further demonstrate that visual working memory resources can be flexibly allocated at will, providing evidence for a hybrid of discrete-slot and dynamic-resource models constraining working memory (in Chapter 4). Finally, I provide evidence of hemispheric differences during the maintenance of visual working memory (in Chapter 6). Rapprochement of rival accounts and hitherto ignored issues on the number and precision of human working memory are discussed. My thesis encourages further detailed investigations of human brain function and anatomy underlying attention and working memory.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Electrophysiological and neuroanatomical correlates of precision and capacity of working memory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: working memory, attention, capacity, precision, number, EEG (electroencephalography), VBM (voxel-based morphometry), hemispheric asymmetry
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1362437
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