Edward F Ester

Edward F Ester
Florida Atlantic University | FAU · Department of Psychology

Ph.D

About

52
Publications
5,065
Reads
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2,062
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
University of California, San Diego
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2006 - November 2011
University of Oregon
Position
  • PhD Student
August 2004 - August 2006
Villanova University
Position
  • Grad Student
Education
September 2006 - November 2011
University of Oregon
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 2004 - August 2006
Villanova University
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 2001 - August 2004
Nazareth College of Rochester
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
Working memory (WM) involves maintaining information in an on-line state. One emerging view is that information in WM is maintained via sensory recruitment, such that information is stored via sustained activity in the sensory areas that encode the to-be-remembered information. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we observed that key senso...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies suggest that visual features are stored in working memory (WM) via sensory recruitment or sustained stimulus-specific patterns of activity in cortical regions that encode memoranda. One important question concerns the spatial extent of sensory recruitment. One possibility is that sensory recruitment is restricted to neurons that are...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies suggest that the temporary storage of visual detail in working memory is mediated by sensory recruitment or sustained patterns of stimulus-specific activation within feature-selective regions of visual cortex. According to a strong version of this hypothesis, the relative "quality" of these patterns should determine the clarity of an...
Article
Working memory (WM) enables the storage and manipulation of information in an active state. WM storage has long been associated with sustained increases in activation across a network of frontal and parietal cortical regions. However, recent evidence suggests that these regions primarily encode information related to general task goals rather than...
Preprint
Full-text available
Visual working memory (WM) enables the maintenance and manipulation of information no longer accessible in the visual world. Previous research has identified spatial WM representations in activation patterns in visual, parietal, and frontal cortex. In natural vision, the period between the encoding of information into WM and the time when it is use...
Article
Categorization allows organisms to generalize existing knowledge to novel stimuli and to discriminate between physically similar yet conceptually different stimuli. Humans, nonhuman primates, and rodents can readily learn arbitrary categories defined by low-level visual features, and learning distorts perceptual sensitivity for category-defining fe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Category learning distorts perceptual space by enhancing the discriminability of physically similar yet categorically distinct exemplars. These distortions could in part reflect changes in how sensory neural populations selective for category-defining features encode information. Here, we tested this possibility by using fMRI and EEG to quantify th...
Article
Working memory (WM) performance can be enhanced by an informative cue presented during storage. This effect, termed a retrocue benefit, can be used to explore how observers prioritize information stored in WM. Recent studies have demonstrated that neural representations of task-relevant memoranda are strengthened following a retrocue, suggesting th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) performance can be enhanced by an informative cue presented during storage. This effect, termed a retrocue benefit, can be used to explore how observers prioritize information stored in WM to guide behavior. Recent studies have demonstrated that neural representations of task-relevant memoranda are strengthened following the app...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) enables the flexible representation of information over short intervals. It is well-established that WM performance can be enhanced by a retrospective cue presented during storage, yet the neural mechanisms responsible for this benefit are unclear. Here, we tested several explanations for retro-cue benefits by quantifying change...
Preprint
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) enables the flexible representation of information over short intervals. It is well-established that WM performance can be enhanced by a retrospective cue presented during storage, yet the neural mechanisms responsible for this benefit are unclear. Here, we tested several explanations for retro-cue benefits by quantifying change...
Article
Full-text available
Visual short-term memory (VSTM) enables the representation of information in a readily accessible state. VSTM is typically conceptualized as a form of “active” storage that is resistant to interference or disruption, yet several recent studies have shown that under some circumstances task-irrelevant distractors may indeed disrupt performance. Here,...
Article
Visual working memory (WM) enables the maintenance and manipulation of information no longer accessible in the visual world. Previous research has identified WM representations in activation patterns in visual, parietal, and frontal cortex (Serences et al, 2009; Harrison & Tong, 2009; Ester et al, 2013; Sprague, Ester & Serences, 2014; Ester, Sprag...
Article
Control over visual selection has long been framed in terms of a dichotomy between "source" and "site", with frontoparietal cortical areas serving as the source of control signals and posterior sensory regions serving as the site for visual processing. This distinction is motivated in part by studies suggesting that frontoparietal cortical areas en...
Article
Most visual working memory (vWM) studies have used 2-dimensional displays even though we routinely encode information in 3D. The addition of depth information might enhance vWM performance by reducing competition between nearby stimuli, or it might impair vWM performance because it extends the spatial extent of attention across the visual field. To...
Article
Full-text available
Unlabelled: Control over visual selection has long been framed in terms of a dichotomy between "source" and "site," where top-down feedback signals originating in frontoparietal cortical areas modulate or bias sensory processing in posterior visual areas. This distinction is motivated in part by observations that frontoparietal cortical areas enco...
Article
Working memory (WM) enables the storage and manipulation of limited amounts of information over short periods. Prominent models posit that increasing the number of remembered items decreases the spiking activity dedicated to each item via mutual inhibition, which irreparably degrades the fidelity of each item’s representation. We tested these model...
Article
Full-text available
Visual short-term memory (VSTM) enables the representation and manipulation of information no longer present in the sensorium. VSTM storage has long been associated with sustained increases in univariate activity (eg, averaged single-neuron spike counts or fMRI activation levels) across a broad network of frontal and parietal cortical areas (for re...
Article
Working memory (WM) is a core cognitive function that enables the maintenance of information no longer present in the environment for guidance of behavior. When more information must be maintained, recall precision is impaired (e.g., Bays & Husain, 2008). Using a multivariate image reconstruction technique (Sprague & Serences, 2013), we recently de...
Article
Visual working memory (WM) enables the representation and manipulation of fleeting visual information. Invasive neurophysiological recordings and human neuroimaging studies have revealed sustained increases in neural activity (e.g., single- and multiunit firing rates) and/or activation (e.g., the amplitude of the blood-oxygenation-level-dependent r...
Article
Full-text available
Visual crowding refers to a phenomenon whereby objects that appear in the periphery of the visual field are more difficult to identify when embedded within clutter. Pooling models assert that crowding results from an obligatory averaging or other combination of target and distractor features that occurs prior to awareness. One well-known manifestat...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial attention has been postulated to facilitate perceptual processing via several different mechanisms. For instance, attention can amplify neural responses in sensory areas (sensory gain), mediate neural variability (noise modulation), or alter the manner in which sensory signals are selectively read out by postsensory decision mechanisms (eff...
Article
Working memory (WM) enables the maintenance and manipulation of information relevant to behavioral goals. Variability in WM ability is strongly correlated with IQ [1], and WM function is impaired in many neurological and psychiatric disorders [2, 3], suggesting that this system is a core component of higher cognition. WM storage is thought to be me...
Article
It is well known that spatial attention facilitates information processing at selected locations. For example, human observers are typically better at discriminating stimuli at attended relative to unattended locations. Several theories for this basic finding have been proposed. One possibility is that selective attention enhances the gain of neura...
Article
Visual working memory (WM) enables the temporary storage of information in an "online" state. Substantial evidence suggests that WM storage is mediated by a broad network of frontal, parietal, and sensory cortical regions, but the precise contribution(s) of these regions to storage are unclear. One emerging view – informed by invasive electrophysio...
Article
By the request of the authors, the following two research articles will be retracted from the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience: 1. Anderson, D. E., Ester, E. F., Klee, D., Vogel, E. K., & Awh, E. (2014). Electrophysiological evidence for failures of item individuation in crowded visual displays. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(10), 2298– 230...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to make rapid and accurate decisions based on limited sensory information is a critical component of visual cognition. Available evidence suggests that simple perceptual discriminations are based on the accumulation and integration of sensory evidence over time. However, the memory system(s) mediating this accumulation are unclear. One...
Article
Full-text available
Visual perception is dramatically impaired when a peripheral target is embedded within clutter, a phenomenon known as visual crowding. Despite decades of study, the mechanisms underlying crowding remain a matter of debate. Feature pooling models assert that crowding results from a compulsory pooling (e.g., averaging) of target and distractor featur...
Article
Full-text available
A classic question concerns whether humans can attend multiple locations or objects at once. Although it is generally agreed that the answer to this question is "yes," the limits on this ability are subject to extensive debate. According to one view, attentional resources can be flexibly allocated to a variable number of locations, with an inverse...
Article
Spatial working memory (WM) is thought to operate by enhancing the response of neural populations that selectively respond to the remembered stimulus location (Awh & Johnides, 2001). However, maps of visual space are widely distributed across regions of occipital, parietal and frontal cortex, and the relative contribution of each region to the main...
Article
Multiple studies have documented an inverse relationship between the number of to-be-attended or remembered items in a display ("set size") and task performance. The neural source of this decline in cognitive performance is currently under debate. Here, we used a combination of fMRI and a forward encoding model of orientation selectivity to generat...
Article
Full-text available
The human visual system has a limited processing capacity. Consequently, mechanisms of selective attention are required to prioritize behaviorally relevant sensory input. Leading theoretical models propose that selective attention facilitates visual processing by enhancing the cortical
Article
The ability to make rapid and accurate decisions regarding the importance of incoming visual information is a fundamental component of visual cognition. Perceptual decision making (PDM) is typically characterized as a process where information about a stimulus is accumulated until a decision threshold is reached and a response is produced. The inte...
Article
Full-text available
For centuries, it has been known that humans can rapidly and accurately enumerate small sets of items, a process referred to as subitizing. However, there is still active debate regarding the mechanisms that mediate this ability. For example, some have argued that subitizing reflects the operation of a fixed-capacity individuation mechanism that en...
Article
Full-text available
Difficulty with selective attention is a frequent complaint of adult patients with ADHD, but selective attention tasks have not provided robust evidence of attentional dysfunction in this group. Two experiments examine this puzzle by distinguishing between failures of spatial selection and problems due to sensitivity to perceptual interference. In...
Article
Items in the periphery of a visual display are more difficult to identify when flanked by irrelevant distractors, a phenomenon referred to as visual crowding. One perspective argues that crowding results from a compulsory averaging or integration of target and distractor features (the “integration” view). For example, although subjects are typicall...
Article
Recent studies suggest that visual working memory (VWM) is best described by a model that enables the storage of a discrete number of items with limited precision. Motivated by known similarities between neural mechanisms of visual selection and working memory, we asked whether performance on an attention-demanding selection task could be described...
Article
Various studies have demonstrated enhanced performance when visual information is presented across both visual hemifields rather than in a single hemifield (the bilateral advantage). For example, Alvarez and Cavanagh (2005) reported that observers were able to track twice as many moving visual stimuli when the tracked items were presented bilateral...
Article
Recent studies suggest that visual features are stored in working memory (WM) via sensory recruitment or sustained stimulus-specific patterns of activity in cortical regions that encode memoranda. One important question concerns the spatial extent of sensory recruitment. One possibility is that sensory recruitment is restricted to neurons that are...
Article
Full-text available
Are resources in visual working memory allocated in a continuous or a discrete fashion? On one hand, flexible resource models suggest that capacity is determined by a central resource pool that can be flexibly divided such that items of greater complexity receive a larger share of resources. On the other hand, if capacity in working memory is defin...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has suggested that the involuntary allocation of spatial attention to salient, irrelevant stimuli (i.e., attentional capture) is prevented when attention is in a focused state (e.g., Yantis & Jonides, 1990). Recent work has suggested that although focused attention may be necessary to prevent attentional capture by irrelevant stim...
Article
Numerous studies have demonstrated that target processing is slowed in the presence of an irrelevant singleton element. One hypothesis is that these slowed responses are due to disruptions in the early sensory processing of the targets. We replicated this effect in a resource-limited procedure. However, under data-limited conditions (e.g., brief ex...

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Projects

Project (1)
Archived project
This research project aims at investigating the effects of delay-period distraction on recall precision in visual short-term memory for spatial location. The main objective of this project is to clarify whether delay-period distraction modulates recall through global or selective interference mechanisms.