The time course of visuo-spatial working memory updating revealed by a retro-cuing paradigm.

Scientific reports

PubMedID: 26869057

Schneider D, Mertes C, Wascher E. The time course of visuo-spatial working memory updating revealed by a retro-cuing paradigm. Sci Rep. 2016;621442.
We investigated the influence of non-cued working memory representations on further information processing. A retro-cue indicated if items on the left or right side of a previous memory array remained relevant. Subsequently, a central probe item was presented with a varying stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA: 300, 400, 600, 1000, 1800?ms). PARTICIPANTS
had to state whether this stimulus was shown on the cued side of the memory array.The probe was either a cued, non-cued or new item. Non-cued probes were associated with delayed response times and an increased frontal negativity from 400-600?ms indicating a higher processing conflict compared to new probes. These effects were strongest for the 300 and 400?ms SOAs and decreased in longer SOA conditions, pointing toward a benefit when there was sufficient time for working memory updating. Furthermore, contralateral negativities at posterior (PCN) and anterior sites (ADAN) reflected the attentional orienting toward cued information while selective retention was associated with a sustained suppression of posterior induced alpha power contralateral to retro-cue direction.

RESULTS
suggest that retro-cue induced updating of visuo-spatial working memory requires about 500?ms to transfer the non-cued contents into a passive and fragile short-term memory state with less impact on ongoing information processing.