The impact of retro-cue validity on working memory representation: Evidence from electroencephalograms

Xueying Fu, Chaoxiong Ye, Zhonghua Hu, Ziyuan Li, Tengfei Liang, Qiang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Visual working memory (VWM) performance can be improved by retrospectively cueing an item. The validity of retro-cues has an impact on the mechanisms underlying the retro-cue effect, but how non-cued representations are handled under different retro-cue validity conditions is not yet clear. Here, we used electroencephalograms to investigate whether retro-cue validity can affect the fate of non-cued representations in VWM. The participants were required to perform a change-detection task using a retro-cue with 80% or 20% validity. Contralateral delay activity and the lateralized alpha power were used to assess memory storage and selective attention, respectively. The retro-cue could redirect selective attention to the cued item under both validity conditions; however, the participants maintained the non-cued representations under the low-validity condition but dropped them from VWM under the high-validity condition. These results suggest that the maintenance of non-cued representations in VWM is affected by the expectation of cue validity and may be partially strategically driven.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108320
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2022

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