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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

June 2010, Vol. 22, No. 6, Pages 1224-1234
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21257)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Early Top–Down Control of Visual Processing Predicts Working Memory Performance
Article PDF (270.94 KB)

Selective attention confers a behavioral benefit on both perceptual and working memory (WM) performance, often attributed to top–down modulation of sensory neural processing. However, the direct relationship between early activity modulation in sensory cortices during selective encoding and subsequent WM performance has not been established. To explore the influence of selective attention on WM recognition, we used electroencephalography to study the temporal dynamics of top–down modulation in a selective, delayed-recognition paradigm. Participants were presented with overlapped, “double-exposed” images of faces and natural scenes, and were instructed to either remember the face or the scene while simultaneously ignoring the other stimulus. Here, we present evidence that the degree to which participants modulate the early P100 (97–129 msec) event-related potential during selective stimulus encoding significantly correlates with their subsequent WM recognition. These results contribute to our evolving understanding of the mechanistic overlap between attention and memory.