Univerity of Wisconsin-Madison

Psychology 621 (a.k.a. lab meeting)
Cognitive Neuroscience of Working Memory
Spring 2024

In this course we emphasize the critical evaluation of topical issues and data in working memory research, with an emphasis on human and nonhuman primates. Toward this end, we also emphasize the methods of neuroimaging, neurophysiology, neuropsychology, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), electroencephalography (EEG), experimental psychology, and computational modeling.

FormatEach week we discuss (at least) one article from the recent literature.  These discussions are organized as informal presentations that will give us an opportunity to discuss and assess in detail the theory, methods, results, and interpretation associated with that particular paper.  On occasion, these discussions are supplemented with, or supplanted by, an informal presentation of the design and/or results from an experiment being conducted in the Postle laboratory (see section on "3 credits," below).  Following the discussion of a particular paper or project, we end the meeting with an attempt to integrate what we've learned from this specific information into the perspective of contemporary cognitive neuroscience inquiry.

Levels of participationThe class may be taken for 1 or 3 credits.  The requirements for 1-credit registrants are simply to come to class having read the assigned paper, and prepared to participate in the discussion. The additional requirements for 3-credit registrants are to participate in a research project in the Postle laboratory that entails at least 10 hr./wk. of research time during two consecutive semesters. Availability of 3-credit option depends on current needs of the lab. The course number is Psychology 621. The in-class presentations of 3-crediters typically focus on their own experiments.


Meeting time and placeFridays 9:00 – 10:45 am in Brogden Psychology Building, Room 519

Instructor: Brad Postle, 515 Psychology,

Coordinator: Jacqueline Fulvio, 165 Psychology,

Office hours: By appointment.

With the exception of time-sensitive emergencies, email is the most effective and preferred way for you to contact us.

All readings are either available for download from the Lab Meeting tab on the Postle Lab website, or you may request a hard copy by emailing Jackie Fulvio at

Background readings

Postle BR (2015). The cognitive neuroscience of visual short-term memory, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 1: 40-46.

Aschwanden C (2014). Harassment in Science, Replicated. New York Times, August 11.



Spring 2024

January 26

Liljefors, J., Almeida, R., Rane, G., Lundstrom, J. N., Herman, P. A., & Lundqvist, M. (2023). Distinct functions for beta and alpha bursts in gating of human working memory. BioRxiv, 2023-11.    [Download pdf here]


February 2

Liesefeld, H. R., Lamy, D., Gaspelin, N., Geng, J. J., Kerzel, D., Schall, J. D., ... & Wolfe, J. (2024). Terms of debate: Consensus definitions to guide the scientific discourse on visual distraction. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 1-28.  [Download pdf here]


February 9

Zabeh, E., Foley, N. C., Jacobs, J., & Gottlieb, J. P. (2023). Beta traveling waves in monkey frontal and parietal areas encode recent reward history. Nature Communications14(1), 5428.  [Download pdf here]


February 16

Thyer, W., Adam, K. C., Diaz, G. K., Velazquez Sanchez, I. N., Vogel, E. K., & Awh, E. (2022). Storage in visual working memory recruits a content-independent pointer system. Psychological Science33(10), 1680-1694.  [Download pdf here]


February 23

Saito, J. M., Kolisnyk, M., & Fukuda, K. (2023). Perceptual comparisons modulate memory biases induced by new visual inputs. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review30(1), 291-302.  [Download pdf here]


March 1

Yiling, Y., Klon-Lipok, J., Shapcott, K., Lazar, A., & Singer, W. (2024). Dynamic fading memory and expectancy effects in the monkey primary visual cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences121(8), e2314855121.  [Download pdf here]


March 8

Zerr, P., Gayet, S., & Van der Stigchel, S. (2024). Memory reports are biased by all relevant contents of working memory. Scientific Reports14(1), 2507.  [Download pdf here]


March 15

Wessel, J. R., & Anderson, M. C. (2024). Neural mechanisms of domain-general inhibitory control. Trends in Cognitive Sciences28(2), 124-143.  [Download pdf here]



March 22

Mendoza-Halliday, D., Xu, H., Azevedo, F. A., & Desimone, R. (2024). Dissociable neuronal substrates of visual feature attention and working memory. Neuron, 2023-03.  [Download pdf here]



March 29 (spring break)

Piwek, E. P., Stokes, M. G., & Summerfield, C. (2023). A recurrent neural network model of prefrontal brain activity during a working memory task. PLoS Computational Biology, 19(10), e1011555.  [Download pdf here]


April 5

Ritz, H., & Shenhav, A. (2024). Orthogonal neural encoding of targets and distractors supports multivariate cognitive control. Nature Human Behaviour, 1-17.  [Download pdf here]



April 12

No meeting - Annual CNS meeting


April 19

Xu, Y. (2023). Parietal-driven visual working memory representation in occipito-temporal cortex. Current Biology33(20), 4516-4523. [Download pdf here]


April 26

Degutis, J. K., Weber, S., Soch, J., & Haynes, J. D. (2024). Neural dynamics of visual working memory representation during sensory distraction. bioRxiv, 2024-04. [Download pdf here]


May 3

Undergraduates (for pre-lab meeting): Wan, Q., Ardalan, A., Fulvio, J., & Postle, B. R. (2023). Representing context and priority in working memory. bioRxiv, 2023-10.  - in press at Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. [Download pdf here]

Menendez, J. A., Hennig, J. A., Golub, M. D., Oby, E. R., Sadtler, P. T., Batista, A. P., ... & Latham, P. E. (2024). A theory of brain-computer interface learning via low-dimensional control. bioRxiv, 2024-04.  [Download pdf here]







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©2024 Postle Lab.

©2024 Postle Lab.