Grasping Interferes with Visuospatial Working Memory during the Encoding: Neurophysiological Evidence
Rumeysa Gunduz Can1,2, Thomas Schack1,2,3, Dirk Koester1,2; 1Faculty of Psychology and Sport Science, Bielefeld University, Germany, 2Cognitive Interaction Technology - Center of Excellence, Bielefeld University, Germany, 3Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics, Bielefeld University, Germany
The present study focuses on the neuro-cognitive mechanisms of manual actions, specifically, on the neurophysiology of the functional interactions between grasping movements and working memory (WM). Here, we investigated the neurophysiological correlates of the grasping interference in separate WM domains (verbal, visuospatial) and processes (encoding, retrieval). Thirty participants were tested in a WM-grasping dual-task paradigm. Baseline single-task required performing a WM task (verbal or visuospatial version). Dual-task required performing the WM task simultaneously with a grasp-to-place task. This study rested on a 2 (Task: Single vs. dual) x 2 (WM domain: Verbal vs. visuospatial) within subject design. Event related potentials (ERPs) were analyzed separately for encoding and retrieval processes. Behavioral analyses showed that memory performance decreased for the visuospatial task, but not for the verbal task, when additional movement execution was required. That is, grasping interferes in WM in domain-specific pattern. ERP analyses showed for the visuospatial task that movement execution in the dual-task (compared to the single-task) changed the encoding-related ERPs. Therefore, ERP findings supported the domain-specific grasping interference in WM. More importantly, for the first time, ERP findings showed the process-specific (encoding) grasping interference in WM at the neurophysiological level. Generally, we provide a neurophysiological evidence for process- and domain-specific grasping interference in WM (encoding process of visuospatial domain). This study, therefore, provides an initial neurophysiological characterization of functional interactions between grasping movements and WM (domains and processes) in a complex dual-task setting, and contributes to a better understanding of neuro-cognitive mechanisms of manual action control.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Motor control