Tracking object number or information load in visual working memory: revisiting the cognitive implication of contralateral delay activity

Zaifeng Gao, Jun Yin, Haokui Xu, Rende Shui, Mowei Shen
Biological Psychology 2011, 87 (2): 296-302
Two accounts prevail for the ERP component contralateral delay activity (CDA). One is that CDA tracks the number of objects stored in visual working memory (VWM), the more objects the higher amplitude (object number account). The other is that CDA reflects the maintained information load (information load account), the higher load the higher amplitude. The two accounts were tested by manipulating the information load and the object number of stored objects. Two or four arrows with low- or high-resolution information were remembered in separate blocks. In two experiments we found that the CDA-amplitude was higher for 4 arrows than for 2 arrows in low-resolution condition, yet no difference in high-resolution condition. Critically, there was no difference on CDA-amplitude among 2 low- and high-resolution objects, as well as 4 high-resolution objects, yet all were significantly lower than 4 low-resolution arrows. These results supported the object number account of CDA.

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