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Extraction of working memory load and the importance of understanding the temporal dynamics

Research group:

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


2017 8th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering


Working memory processing is central for higher-order cognitive functions. Although the ability to access and extract working memory load has been proven feasible, the temporal resolution is low and cross-task generalization is poor. In this study, EEG oscillatory activity was recorded from sixteen healthy subjects while they performed two versions of the visual n-back task. Observed effects in the working memory-related EEG oscillatory activity, specifically in theta, alpha and low beta power, are significantly different in the two tasks (i.e. two categories of visual stimuli) and these differences are greatest after image onset. Furthermore, cross-task generalization can be obtained by concatenating both tasks and although similar performances are observed before and after image onset, this study highlights the complexity of working memory processing related to different categories of visual stimuli, particularly after image onset, that are crucial to understand, in order to interpret the extraction of working memory load.


author = {Elaine {\AA}strand and Martin Ekstr{\"o}m},
title = {Extraction of working memory load and the importance of understanding the temporal dynamics},
volume = {2017},
number = {641-647},
booktitle = {2017 8th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering},
url = {}