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Conscious Cogn. 2014 Apr;25:88-100. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.01.013. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Subjective aspects of working memory performance: memoranda-related imagery.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, United States.
2
Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, United States; Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, United States.
3
Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, United States; Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, United States. Electronic address: morsella@sfsu.edu.

Abstract

Although it is well accepted that working memory (WM) is intimately related to consciousness, little research has illuminated the liaison between the two phenomena. To investigate this under-explored nexus, we used an imagery monitoring task to investigate the subjective aspects of WM performance. Specifically, in two experiments, we examined the effects on consciousness of (a) holding in mind information having a low versus high memory load, and (b) holding memoranda in mind during the presentation of distractors (e.g., visual stimuli associated with a response incompatible with that of the memoranda). Higher rates of rehearsal (conscious imagery) occurred in the high load and distractor conditions than in comparable control conditions. Examination of the temporal properties of the rehearsal-based imagery revealed that, across subjects, imagery events occurred evenly throughout the delay. We hope that future variants of this new imagery monitoring task will reveal additional insights about WM, consciousness, and action control.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive control; Consciousness; Mental imagery; Refreshing; Working memory

PMID:
24583457
DOI:
10.1016/j.concog.2014.01.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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