Flexible Working Memory for Adaptive Perception and Action
LocationSage Center Conference Room, Psych 1312
Goal-directed cognition and behavior require the ability to keep information temporarily in mind. Humans ubiquitously rely on this ‘working memory’ to hold onto multiple types of goals at different levels of urgency. While we try to achieve these moment-to-moment goals, we also face distractions and other fluctuating demands in our environment. As a result, sometimes either our working memory or our immediate behavior can suffer. This talk will examine the principles of cognitive and neural function that dictate how working memory interacts with concurrent perceptual, attentional, and action demands. I will describe human behavioral, neuroimaging, and brain stimulation studies to reveal how working memory survives (and supports) these competing demands. The talk will converge on the idea that seeming working memory limitations arise from an
overwhelmingly adaptive system, wherein working memory processes and representations can flexibly shift to meet the combination of current demands.