A layered neural architecture for the consolidation, maintenance, and updating of representations in visual working memory

Jeffrey S. Johnson, John P. Spencer, Gregor Schöner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Many everyday tasks rely on our ability to hold information about a perceived stimulus in mind after that stimulus is no longer visible and to compare this information with incoming perceptual information. This ability has been shown to rely on a short-term form of visual memory that has come to be known as visual working memory. Research and theory at both the behavioral and neural levels has begun to provide important insights into the basic properties of the neuro-cognitive systems underlying specific aspects of this form of memory. However, to date, no neurally-plausible theory has been proposed that addresses both the storage of information in working memory and the comparison process in a single framework. The present paper presents a layered neural field architecture that addresses these limitations. In a series of simulations, we show how the model can be used to capture each of the components underlying performance in simple visual comparison tasks--from the encoding, consolidation, and maintenance of information in working memory, to comparison and updating in response to changed inputs. Importantly, the proposed model demonstrates how these elementary perceptual and cognitive functions emerge from the coordinated activity of an integrated, dynamic neural system
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2009

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