Kirsten Adam

Kirsten Adam
University of California, San Diego | UCSD · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

54
Publications
11,414
Reads
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664
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
University of California, San Diego
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
June 2015 - June 2018
University of Chicago
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 2012 - June 2015
University of Oregon
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 2008 - May 2012
University of Notre Dame
Field of study
  • Biological Sciences

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
Full-text available
There are inherent trade-offs between the flexibility and the capacity of working memory, or the ability to temporarily hold information “in mind.” In a recent issue of Neuron, Bouchacourt and Buschman (2019) present a new model of working memory that demonstrates how coordinated activity between specialized sensory networks and flexible higher-ord...
Preprint
Full-text available
Visual working memory is the ability to hold visual information temporarily in mind. A key feature of working memory is its starkly limited capacity, such that only a few simple items can be remembered at once. Prior work has shown that this capacity limit cannot be circumvented by providing additional encoding time — whether providing just 200 ms...
Article
Full-text available
With the increasing prevalence of legal cannabis use and availability, there is an urgent need to identify cognitive impairments related to its use. It is widely believed that cannabis, or its main psychoactive component Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), impairs working memory, i.e., the ability to temporarily hold information in mind. However, our re...
Article
Full-text available
Feature-based attention is the ability to selectively attend to a particular feature (e.g., attend to red but not green items while looking for the ketchup bottle in your refrigerator), and steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) measured from the human EEG signal have been used to track the neural deployment of feature-based attention. Al...
Article
Full-text available
Attention and working memory are intricately related, yet there remain ambiguities in how to best characterize this relationship. In his review, Oberauer formalizes several dimensions for the relationship between attention and working memory, focusing especially on the supporting role of attention during working memory maintenance. In this commenta...
Preprint
There is consistent debate over whether capacity in working memory (WM) is subject to an item limit, or whether an unlimited number of items can be held in this online memory system. The item limit hypothesis clearly predicts guessing responses when capacity is exceeded, and proponents of this view have highlighted evidence for guessing in visual w...
Article
Full-text available
To find important objects, we must focus on our goals, ignore distractions, and take our changing environment into account. This is formalized in models of visual search whereby goal-driven, stimulus-driven and history-driven factors are integrated into a priority map that guides attention. Stimulus history robustly influences where attention is al...
Article
Visual search refers to our ability to find what we are looking for among many competing visual inputs. Here, we report the availability of a rich dataset that replicates key visual search effects and shows that these effects are robust to several changes to the experimental design. Experiment 1 replicates classic findings from an additional single...
Preprint
Visual working memory refers to the ability to temporarily hold information in mind in the service of behavior. Often, it is not sufficient to hold an abstract idea in mind to achieve our goals. Rather, we must maintain vivid sensory details. For example, when buying a spool of thread to repair a much-loved shirt, holding an abstract category in mi...
Article
Full-text available
The contralateral delay activity (CDA) is an event‐related potential component commonly used to examine the online processes of visual working memory. Here, we provide a robust analysis of the statistical power that is needed to achieve reliable and reproducible results with the CDA. Using two very large EEG datasets that examined the contrast betw...
Preprint
Full-text available
The contralateral delay activity (CDA) is an event-related potential component commonly used to examine the online processes of visual working memory. Here, we provide a robust analysis of the statistical power that is needed to achieve reliable and reproducible results with the CDA. Using two very large EEG datasets that examined the contrast betw...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) is an online memory system that is critical for holding information in a rapidly accessible state during ongoing cognitive processing. Thus, there is strong value in methods that provide a temporally resolved index of WM load. While univariate EEG signals have been identified that vary with WM load, recent advances in multivaria...
Preprint
To find important objects, we must focus on our goals, ignore distractions, and take our changing environment into account. This is formalized in models of visual search whereby goal-driven, stimulus-driven and history-driven factors are integrated into a priority map that guides attention. Stimulus history robustly influences where attention is al...
Preprint
Full-text available
Feature-based attention is the ability to selectively attend to a particular feature (e.g., attend to red but not green items while looking for the ketchup bottle in your refrigerator), and steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) measured from the human electroencephalogram (EEG) signal have been used to track the neural deployment of feat...
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory is the ability to hold visual information temporarily in mind. A key feature of working memory is its starkly limited capacity, such that only a few simple items can be remembered at once. Prior work has shown that this capacity limit cannot be circumvented by providing additional encoding time, whether providing just 200 ms o...
Article
Full-text available
Persistent neuronal spiking has long been considered the mechanism underlying working memory, but recent proposals argue for alternative ‘activity-silent’ substrates. Using monkey and human electrophysiology data, we show here that attractor dynamics that control neural spiking during mnemonic periods interact with activity-silent mechanisms in the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) is an online memory system that is critical for holding information in a rapidly accessible state during ongoing cognitive processing. Thus, there is strong value in methods that provide a temporally-resolved index of WM load. While univariate EEG signals have been identified that vary with WM load, recent advances in multivaria...
Preprint
Full-text available
With the sharply increasing prevalence of cannabis use and availability, there is an urgent need to identify cognitive impairments related to its use. It is widely believed that cannabis, or its main psychoactive component Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), impairs working memory, i.e., the ability to temporarily hold information in mind. However, our...
Preprint
Full-text available
Persistent neuronal spiking has long been considered the mechanism underlying working memory, but recent proposals argue for alternative, 'activity-silent' substrates for memory. Using monkey and human electrophysiology, we show here that attractor dynamics that control neural spiking during mnemonic periods interact with activity-silent mechanisms...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Here, we used data acquired from 4 published studies (combined n = 340 participants) to test whether working memory load can be predicted from the broadband EEG signal across all electrodes, even at the single trial level. In Experiment 1 (Unsworth, Fukuda, Awh, and Vogel, 2015), we first demonstrate that we can classify memory load (2 versus 6 ite...
Article
Full-text available
Persistent neural activity that encodes online mental representations plays a central role in working memory (WM). However, there has been debate regarding the number of items that can be concurrently represented in this active neural state, which is often called the “focus of attention.” Some models propose a strict single-item limit, such that ju...
Data
Empirically approximated sampling distribution of mean CTF selectivity for each condition (left) and for the mean difference in CTF selectivity (one-item minus two-item) (right) for Simulation 1 (A), Simulation 2 (B), and Simulation 3 (C). Dashed lines mark the mean for each sampling distribution. Data available at https://github.com/AwhVogelLab/IE...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite being intuitive, cognitive effort has proven difficult to quantify. In the current study we validated the correspondence between scale-invariance (H) of cortical activity recorded by EEG and task load during two working memory (WM) experiments with varying set sizes. We used this neural signature to disentangle cognitive effort from the num...
Article
Full-text available
Complex cognition relies on both on-line representations in working memory (WM), said to reside in the focus of attention, and passive off-line representations of related information. Here, we dissected the focus of attention by showing that distinct neural signals index the on-line storage of objects and sustained spatial attention. We recorded el...
Article
Full-text available
Visual working memory capacity is estimated to be around 3–4 items, but on some trials participants fail to correctly report even a single item from the memory array. Such failures of working memory performance are surprisingly common, and participants have poor self-awareness of them. Previous work has shown that behavioral feedback can reduce the...
Data
Correlations between pre-test measures. * p < .05 ** p < .01. (DOCX)
Data
Correlations between post-test measures. * p < .05 ** p < .01. (DOCX)
Data
Reliability of measures: Uncorrected correlation coefficient between pre- and post-test score. n.s. p > .05, all others p < .01. (DOCX)
Preprint
Full-text available
A longstanding view holds that information is maintained in working memory (WM) via persistent neural activity that encodes the content of WM. Recent work, however, has challenged the view that all items stored in WM are actively maintained. Instead, “activity-silent” models propose that items can be maintained in WM without the need for persistent...
Preprint
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) maintains relevant information in an accessible state, and is composed of an active focus of attention and passive offline storage. Here, we dissect the focus of attention by showing that distinct neural signals index the online storage of objects and sustained spatial attention. We recorded EEG activity during two tasks that em...
Article
Full-text available
Neural measures of working memory storage, such as the contralateral delay activity (CDA), are powerful tools in working memory research. CDA amplitude is sensitive to working memory load, reaches an asymptote at known behavioral limits, and predicts individual differences in capacity. An open question, however, is whether neural measures of load a...
Poster
Full-text available
The Contralateral Delay Activity (CDA) is a popular neural measure used to track storage in visual Working Memory (WM). The amplitude of the CDA increases with the number of memoranda, asymptotes around 3 items, and is sensitive to individual differences in behavior. However, there is still debate about whether the CDA reflects WM contents or susta...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory performance fluctuates dramatically from trial to trial. On many trials, performance is no better than chance. Here, we assessed participants' awareness of working memory failures. We used a whole-report visual working memory task to quantify both trial-by-trial performance and trial-by-trial subjective ratings of inattention to the...
Article
Full-text available
Because of the central role of working memory capacity in cognition, many studies have used short measures of working memory capacity to examine its relationship to other domains. Here, we measured the reliability and stability of visual working memory capacity, measured using a single-probe change detection task. In Experiment 1, the participants...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Visual Working Memory (WM) capacity is limited to around 3-4 simple items, yet the capacity of long-term memory is virtually unlimited. Here, we measured increases in WM performance across back-to-back repetitions of identical supra-capacity arrays. We hypothesized that subjects would show typical capacity limits for the first presentation of an ar...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory is a limited workspace for temporarily holding information in mind, and it is critical for thinking and problem solving. A person’s ability to perform a variety of complicated intelligent behaviors, such as abstract reasoning, mathematics, and acquiring new languages, depends greatly on his or her specific working memory capacity. Th...
Article
Full-text available
Fluctuations in attentional control can lead to failures of working memory (WM), in which the subject is no better than chance at reporting items from a recent display. In three experiments, we used a whole-report measure of visual WM to examine the impact of feedback on the rate of failures. In each experiment, subjects remembered an array of colo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Trial by trial fluctuations in attentional control can lead to failures of working memory (WM), in which the subject is no better than chance at reporting the items from a recent display. In three experiments, we used a whole-report measure of visual WM to examine the impact of pre- and post-trial information on the rate of these failures. We hypot...
Article
Full-text available
Attentional control and working memory capacity are important cognitive abilities that substantially vary between individuals. Although much is known about how attentional control and working memory capacity relate to each other and to constructs like fluid intelligence, little is known about how trial-by-trial fluctuations in attentional engagemen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Visual Working Memory (VWM) is commonly characterized using a change detection task (Luck & Vogel, 1997), but change detection errors reveal little about trial-by-trial performance. That is, errors produced on high-success trials (many items remembered) and low-success trials (no items remembered) are indistinguishable. Here, we employ a discrete w...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Individuals with low memory capacity perform poorly on fluid intelligence and attentional control tasks. Here, we examined whether low working memory performance is due to a reduced capacity, or if it is instead due to more frequent states of general inattention during the task. We used a whole report visual memory procedure and defined attentional...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Most studies testing models of visual working memory capacity have relied on partial report procedures that probe the observer’s knowledge of a single item from a multi-item array. Whole-report procedures have been less common in tests of visual memory, perhaps because of concerns about output interference, but such procedures may provide richer in...

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