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CCN Brown Bag Series

Wednesday, January 16, 2019,
  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 115

QiuHai Yue, PhD

Department of Psychology (Marois Lab)

Vanderbilt University

"Evaluating the buffer vs. embedded processes accounts of phonological short-term memory"

Buffer versus embedded processes accounts of short-term memory (STM) has been under debate for decades. Buffer models propose dedicated storage for maintaining different types of information, where these buffers are separate from long-term memory (LTM) for those kinds of information. In contrast, embedded processes models argue against the existence of buffers, and claim STM consists of the activated portion of LTM. I will present three experiments with multivariate neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation approaches to test this debate for phonological STM. Experiment 1 used fMRI with representational similarity analysis to assess the representational correspondence of multi-voxel neural activation pattern with the theoretical predictions for the maintenance of words. Experiment 2, using nonword stimuli, tested distractor interference effects on phonological STM. Experiment 3 used transcranial magnetic stimulation to test the necessity of the brain regions implicated in phonological STM from Experiments 1 and 2. Converging evidence from three experiments provided clear support for a buffer account over an embedded processes account of phonological STM. General implications for the buffer vs. embedded processes debate, as well as implications for theories of the neural basis of working memory will be discussed.