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Poster D13

Structural organization of multiple sources of information for efficient encoding in working memory

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Qiaoli Huang1 (, Christian Doeller1,2,3,4; 1Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, 2Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Center for Neural Computation, The Egil and Pauline Braathen and Fred Kavli Center for Cortical Microcircuits, Jebsen Center for Alzheimer’s Disease, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 3Wilhelm Wundt Institute for Psychology, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany, 4Department of Psychology, Technical University Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Working memory (WM) is a core cognitive function to flexibly inform and guide future behavior, with its capacity constraining various cognitive abilities. Previous empirical and modelling studies have implied that the human brain may compress or organize multiple sources of information based on their relational regularities, or underlying structure. However, empirical evidence is scarce for how the brain represents structural information in WM and for how it spontaneously leverages this information to organize the storage of multiple items in the service of efficient encoding. Recent developments in cognitive neuroscience suggest that cognitive maps may provide a general framework for organizing information in different tasks and across various domains. Here, we developed a novel experimental WM paradigm in combination with MEG recordings to examine the neural mechanisms supporting efficient information storage by leveraging the underlying task structure. Participants were asked to memorize a sequence of gratings varying on two continuous dimensions: orientation and frequency. Each stimulus could therefore be described within a two-dimensional feature space. Crucially, we manipulate the consistency of directional information defined in the two-dimensional feature space between sequential items. We observed that information was more precisely stored in the same direction compared to different direction condition, indicating that direction information is spontaneously leveraged to compress multiple sources of information. Furthermore, we are examining how abstract direction is encoded in the brain and whether grid-like representations are involved to efficiently organize multi-information storage in WM.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory


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April 13–16  |  2024