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Title: Cognitive and neural factors underlying the manipulation of visual memory representations
Author: Golemme, Mara
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 4604
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Goal-directed behaviour relies on the ability to store relevant information in visual shortterm memory (VSTM) and to briefly maintain its representation for manipulations (Visual Working Memory, VWM). Crucial cognitive processes for this ability include perceptual encoding, maintenance and retrieval of task-relevant stimuli, as well as selectively suppress taskirrelevant information. Despite the relevance of these processes is known, their combined and individual contribution is less clear, as well as the specific role of the initial perceptual accuracy and individual variability in manipulating information held in memory. This thesis addresses these issues by examining the cognitive and neural processes underlying the maintenance of memory representations for short intervals. In the first part of this work, we used a novel behavioural paradigm to study the role of perceptual accuracy as well as of the combined and individual contribution of other cognitive factors underlying visual short-term memory. A second study extended the investigation to the maintenance period, providing task-based and endogenous electrophysiological correlates of successful maintenance. The second part of this thesis used a retro-cue based WM paradigm to investigate the attentional and inhibitory mechanisms involve in the maintenance process, and required when manipulating stored information. Considering the vulnerability of these processes in healthy ageing, the investigation is also extended to an older sample. This last part of the thesis provided cognitive and neural results that reconciled contrasting findings on the WM literature based on retro-cue. Specifically, a novel concept of cognitive flexibility and its electrophysiological predictors are proposed to underlie individual variability in manipulating memory representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral