Electrophysiological evidence for immature processing capacity and filtering in visuospatial working memory in adolescents

M. Spronk, E.K. Vogel, L.M. Jonkman

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study investigated the development of visuospatial working memory (VSWM) capacity and the efficiency of filtering in VSWM in adolescence. To this end, a group of IQ-matched adults and adolescents performed a VSWM change detection task with manipulations of WM-load and distraction, while performance and electrophysiological contralateral delay activity (CDA) were measured. The CDA is a lateralized ERP marker of the number of targets and distracters that are selectively encoded/maintained in WM from one hemifield of the memory display. Significantly lower VSWM-capacity (Cowan's K) was found in adolescents than adults, and adolescents' WM performance (in terms of accuracy and speed) also suffered more from the presence of distracters. Distracter-related CDA responses were partly indicative of higher distracter encoding/maintenance in WM in adolescents and were positively correlated with performance measures of distracter interference. This correlation suggests that the higher interference of distracters on WM performance in adolescents was caused by an inability to block distracters from processing and maintenance in WM. The lower visuospatial WM-capacity (K) in adolescents in the high load (3 items) condition was accompanied by a trend (p

Original languageEnglish
Article number42262
Number of pages10
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • CHILDHOOD
  • FLUID INTELLIGENCE
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • IRRELEVANT INFORMATION
  • NEURAL MECHANISMS
  • PARIETAL CORTEX
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • SHORT-TERM-MEMORY
  • SPATIAL ATTENTION
  • STORAGE CAPACITY

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