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Poster E58

The power of attention: how to boost long-term memory representations in working memory

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Melinda Sabo1 (, Daniel Schneider; 1Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors

While theoretical models suggest that there is an information exchange between working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM), it is not clear whether existing LTM representations can be strengthened by attentional manipulations in WM. The current study attempts to address this question using electroencephalography. We designed a novel task in which subjects first learned associations between objects and their presentation position. In a subsequent WM task (retro-cue paradigm), the same object-location associations re-occurred. One third of the objects appeared consistently in the cued condition of the retro-cue task, another third in the non-cued condition, while the rest were never repeated in the WM task (control condition). During the final retrieval phase, subjects were presented with the same objects and had to retrieve the associated locations. Data from the retrieval phase were analyzed. Behavioral results indicated that subjects were fastest and most accurate in retrieving the locations associated with cued objects that had undergone attentional selection during the WM task. Similarly, we obtained a significantly higher left parietal old-new amplitude when comparing the cued condition with the other two conditions. Finally, we trained a classifier to discriminate between retrieval trials with objects that had undergone different WM manipulations. The classifier was able to discriminate trials with cued objects from trials with non-cued and control objects. However, when the control and non-cued conditions were contrasted, the decoding accuracy did not exceed chance level. Overall, this shows that attentional selection in WM can strengthen an existing LTM representation and benefit subsequent retrieval.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024