July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Working memory capacity and allocation reflect noise in neural storage
Author Affiliations
  • Paul M. Bays
    University College London
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 1366. doi:10.1167/13.9.1366
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      Paul M. Bays; Working memory capacity and allocation reflect noise in neural storage. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1366. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1366.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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A key claim differentiating "resource" from "slot" models of WM is that resources can be allocated flexibly, enhancing the mnemonic precision of some visual elements at a cost to others. While salient visual events are found to have a short-lived influence on WM that is rapidly suppressed, informative cues lead to a long-lasting reallocation of resources. We argue that resource limits in working memory are a direct consequence of stochasticity (noise) in neural representations. A model based on population coding reproduces the empirical relationship between error distributions and memory load and demonstrates that observers allocate limited neural resources in a near-optimal fashion.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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