EP Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience Seminar: Working Memory 2017: What is going on?
Dr Eva Federos (University of Reading)
Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 1pm to 2pm
Schlich Lecture Theatre, Plant Sciences, S. Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB
Hosted by Dr Sanjay Manohar
After several decades of intensive study, the field of working memory has perhaps more unknowns than when research on it began. On the one hand, it's an exciting time to be in the field, as there are many new theories and models that need testing, along with many cutting-edge experimental technqiues, but on the other hand, we are still trying to answer some of the most fundamental questions, for example, how exactly is information maintained over the short-term? My research focuses on the brain aspects of short-term maintenance, and in pursuit of this I use a combination of neuroscientific techniques, including TMS, fMRI and concurrent TMS-fMRI. Recent work has shown, for example, that the Sensory Recruitment hypothesis of working memory (i.e., that we use non-memory perceptual/motor areas to maintain information over the short-term) is certainly not the whole story; with concurrent TMS-fMRI, and multi-voxel pattern analysis, we have data to show that information is represented across the anatomically distributed Multiple Demands network, as well as in perceptual areas. We have also started to look at information held outside the 'focus of attention', in what may be a non-conscious representational state. While I won't be presenting any definitive conclusions on how working memory is achieved by the brain, I hope to spark some lively discussion on how we might go about integrating some of the diverse findings in the field, and how we can tackle outstanding questions with all the different experimental approaches, models and theories that we have.