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      Theta-Rhythmic Oscillation of Working Memory Performance

      1 , 1 , 2 , 3
      Psychological Science
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Representations held in working memory are crucial in guiding human attention in a goal-directed fashion. Currently, it is debated whether only a single representation or several of these representations can be active and bias behavior at any given moment. In the present study, 25 university students performed a behavioral dense-sampling experiment to produce an estimate of the temporal-activation patterns of two simultaneously held visual templates. We report two key novel results. First, performance related to both representations was not continuous but fluctuated rhythmically at 6 Hz. This corresponds to neural oscillations in the theta band, the functional importance of which in working memory is well established. Second, our findings suggest that two concurrently held representations may be prioritized in alternation, not simultaneously. Our data extend recent research on rhythmic sampling of external information by demonstrating an analogous mechanism in the cyclic activation of internal working memory representations.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          (View ORCID Profile)
          Journal
          Psychological Science
          Psychol Sci
          SAGE Publications
          0956-7976
          1467-9280
          November 2021
          September 30 2021
          November 2021
          : 32
          : 11
          : 1801-1810
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology, University of Vienna
          [2 ]Cognitive Science Research Hub, University of Vienna
          [3 ]Research Platform Mediatised Lifeworlds, University of Vienna
          Article
          10.1177/09567976211013045
          34592108
          a9de88dd-7acc-4d8d-aa7a-ecbd7e80b28a
          © 2021

          https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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