Brad Postle, Ph.D.
January 23, 2024 @ 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Free
Controlling the Contents of Visual Working Memory
Join the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) for a hybrid event featuring Dr. Brad Postle, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This event will be held in-person in the Herklotz Conference Center and virtually via Zoom.
Two hallmarks of working memory are flexibility — ability to mentally juggle multiple pieces of information, prioritizing what’s relevant for the task immediately at hand while also keeping potentially important but currently unprioritized information in an accessible state — and updateability — allowing for the rapid replacement of the no-longer-needed with the newly relevant. This talk will explore these two aspects of the control of working memory at the levels of algorithmic operation and neural implementation. Specifically, although parsimony holds that “deprioritization” and “removal” might be accomplished via the same mechanism, I will draw on neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), computational (RNN, RL), and behavioral data to argue for two distinct, novel, processes for controlling the contents of WM: the transformation of representational geometries as a function of priority; and the top-down hijacking of mechanisms of adaptation to accomplish active removal. This work may generalize to broader questions, such as of how we control the moment-to-moment contents of conscious awareness, and how we diagnose and treat disorders of thought.