Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) shift working memory resources to prioritize the maintenance of relevant information Open Access

Brady, Ryan James (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/n009w2853?locale=en


Working memory is a system by which a limited number of representations are maintained in the absence of sustained sensory input. Because resources are limited, the ability to control working memory resources is critical to prioritize the maintenance of information relevant to the current task. While evidence exists that monkeys exhibit some control over working memory, the extent to which monkeys can select among multiple representations to prioritize maintenance of relevant information is not known. Using a post-sample cueing paradigm, we tested the extent to which monkeys can prioritize the maintenance of relevant information among competing representations held in working memory. Monkeys saw an array of multiple items. Shortly after its disappearance, they were visually cued to a location that predicted which item would be tested in a subsequent recognition test. If monkeys prioritize the maintenance of the cued item, then they will show better memory for cued items compared to non-cued items. The results of three experiments indicate that monkeys prioritize the cued item with a memory load of two items, but not three. Our results suggest that monkeys, similar to humans, shift working memory resources to prioritize the maintenance of relevant information. Future work will be aimed at understanding the relationship between cognitive load and working memory control.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 8

2. Experiment 1. 11

2.1 Methods. 12

2.3 Procedure. 13

2.3 Results and discussion. 17

3. Experiment 2. 19

3.1 Experiment 2a. 19

3.2 Experiment 2b. 22

3.3 Experiment 2c. 24

Experiment 3. 26

4.1 Experiment 3a. 27

4.2 Experiment 3b. 29

5. General Discussion. 33

6. References. 38

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