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ERIC Number: EJ933733
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Control of Interference during Working Memory Updating
Szmalec, Arnaud; Verbruggen, Frederick; Vandierendonck, Andre; Kemps, Eva
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v37 n1 p137-151 Feb 2011
The current study examined the nature of the processes underlying working memory updating. In 4 experiments using the n-back paradigm, the authors demonstrate that continuous updating of items in working memory prevents strong binding of those items to their contexts in working memory, and hence leads to an increased susceptibility to proactive interference. Results of Experiments 1 and 2 show that this interference reflects a competition between a process that reveals the degree of familiarity of an item and a context-sensitive recollection process that depends on the strength of bindings in working memory. Experiment 3 further clarifies the origins of interference during updating by demonstrating that even items that are semantically related to the updated working memory contents but that have not been maintained in working memory before cause proactive interference. Finally, the results of Experiment 4 indicate that the occurrence of interference leads to top-down behavioral adjustments that prioritize recollection over familiarity assessment. The implications of these findings for the construct validity of the n-back task, for the control processes involved in working memory updating, and for the concept of executive control more generally are discussed. (Contains 4 footnotes, 3 tables, and 7 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A