Neural evidence for categorical biases in location and orientation representations in a working memory task: EEG decoding of categorical biases

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Abstract

Previous research demonstrated that visual representations in working memory exhibit biases with respect to the categorical structure of the stimulus space. However, a majority of those studies used behavioral measures of working memory, and it is not clear whether the working memory representations per se are influenced by the categorical structure or whether the biases arise in decision or response processes during the report. Here, I applied a multivariate decoding technique to EEG data collected during working memory tasks to determine whether neural activity associated with the representations in working memory is categorically biased prior to the report. I found that the decoding of spatial working memory was biased away from the nearest cardinal location, consistent with the biases observed in the behavioral responses. In a follow-up experiment which was designed to prevent the use of a response preparation strategy, I found that the decoding still exhibited categorical biases. Together, these results provide neural evidence that working memory representations themselves are categorically biased, imposing important constraints on the models of working memory representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118366
JournalNeuroImage
Volume240
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021

Keywords

  • Categorical bias
  • EEG decoding
  • Visual working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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