Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Visual working memory enables us to hold onto past sensations in anticipation that these may become relevant for guiding future actions. Yet laboratory tasks have treated visual working memories in isolation from their prospective actions and have focused on the mechanisms of memory retention rather than utilization. To understand how visual memories become used for action, we linked individual memory items to particular actions and independently tracked the neural dynamics of visual and motor selection when memories became used for action. This revealed concurrent visual-motor selection, engaging appropriate visual and motor brain areas at the same time. Thus we show that items in visual working memory can invoke multiple, item-specific, action plans that can be accessed together with the visual representations that guide them, affording fast and precise memory-guided behavior.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





477 - 483