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Authors: Berti, Stefan
Title: Switching attention within working memory is reflected in the P3a component of the human event-related brain potential
Online publication date: 17-Oct-2022
Year of first publication: 2016
Language: english
Abstract: The flexible access to information in working memory is crucial for adaptive behavior. It is assumed that this is realized by switching the focus of attention within working memory. Switching of attention is mirrored in the P3a component of the human event-related brain potential (ERP) and it has been argued that the processes reflected by the P3a are also relevant for selecting information within working memory. The aim of the present study was to further evaluate whether the P3a mirrors genuine switching of attention within working memory by applying an object switching task: Participants updated a memory list of four digits either by replacing one item with another digit or by processing the stored digit. ERPs were computed separately for two types of trials: (1) trials in which an object was repeated and (2) trials in which a switch to a new object was required in order to perform the task. Object-switch trials showed increased response times compared with repetition trials in both task conditions. In addition, switching costs were increased in the processing compared with the replacement condition. Pronounced P3a’s were obtained in switching trials but there were no difference between the two updating tasks (replacement or processing). These results were qualified by the finding that the magnitude of the visual location shift also affects the ERPs in the P3a time window. Taken together, the present pattern of results suggest that the P3a reflects an initial process of selecting information in working memory but not the memory updating itself.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Frontiers in human neuroscience
Pages or article number: Art. 701
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publisher place: Lausanne
Issue date: 2016
ISSN: 1662-5161
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00701
Appears in collections:DFG-OA-Publizieren (2012 - 2017)

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