Quick Search:

uzh logo
Browse by:

Zurich Open Repository and Archive

Maintenance: Tuesday, 5.7.2016, 07:00-08:00

Maintenance work on ZORA and JDB on Tuesday, 5th July, 07h00-08h00. During this time there will be a brief unavailability for about 1 hour. Please be patient.

Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-64543

Lewis-Peacock, Jarrod A; Drysdale, Andrew T; Oberauer, Klaus; Postle, Bradley R (2012). Neural evidence for a distinction between short-term memory and the focus of attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(1):61-79.

Published Version
View at publisher


It is widely assumed that the short-term retention of information is accomplished via maintenance of an active neural trace. However, we demonstrate that memory can be preserved across a brief delay despite the apparent loss of sustained representations. Delay period activity may, in fact, reflect the focus of attention, rather than STM. We unconfounded attention and memory by causing external and internal shifts of attention away from items that were being actively retained. Multivariate pattern analysis of fMRI indicated that only items within the focus of attention elicited an active neural trace. Activity corresponding to representations of items outside the focus quickly dropped to baseline. Nevertheless, this information was remembered after a brief delay. Our data also show that refocusing attention toward a previously unattended memory item can reactivate its neural signature. The loss of sustained activity has long been thought to indicate a disruption of STM, but our results suggest that, even for small memory loads not exceeding the capacity limits of STM, the active maintenance of a stimulus representation may not be necessary for its short-term retention.


61 citations in Web of Science®
74 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™



0 downloads since deposited on 04 Sep 2012
18 downloads since 12 months

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Deposited On:04 Sep 2012 13:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:57
Publisher:MIT Press
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00140
PubMed ID:21955164

Users (please log in): suggest update or correction for this item

Repository Staff Only: item control page