Univerity of Wisconsin-Madison

Psychology 620 (a.k.a. lab meeting)
Cognitive Neuroscience of Working Memory
Spring 2015

In this course we emphasize the critical evaluation of topical issues and data in working memory research. Toward this end, we also emphasize the methods of neuroimaging, neuropsychology, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), electroencephalography (EEG), and experimental psychology.

Format: Each 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 participation: The 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 620. The in-class presentations of 3-crediters typically focus on their own experiments.


Meeting time and placeFridays at 9:55AM, room 634 Psychology (unless otherwise noted)

Instructor: Brad Postle, 515 Psychology, 262-4330,

Office hours: By appointment.

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

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

Background readings

Postle BR (In Press). 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.

January 23

Majerus S, Cowan N, Péters F, Van Calster L, Phillips C, & Schrouff J. (2014). Cross-modal decoding of neural patterns associated with working memory: Evidence for attention-based accounts of working memory. Cerebral Cortex, Epub ahead of print.

January 30

Dawei L, Christ SE, & Cowan N (2014). Domain-general and domain-specific functional networks in working memory. NeuroImage, 102: 646-656. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.08.028.

February 6

No Class - Study Section

February 12

Department of Psychology Colloquium: Nelson Cowan
Room 338, Brogden Psychology Building 

February 13

Rouder JN, Morey RD, Verhagen J, Province JM, & Wagenmakers E-J (submitted). The p < .05 rule and the hidden costs of the free lunch in inference.

February 20

Roux F & Uhlhaas PJ (2014). Working memory and neural oscillations: Alpha-gamma versus theta-gamma codes for distinct WM information? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18 (1): 16-25. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2013.10.010

February 27

Cecere, R, Rees, G, & Romei, V (2015). Individual differences in alpha frequency drive crossmodal illusory perception, Current Biology, 25(2): 231-235. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.034.

March 6

**Meeting location has been changed to Rm. 3265 of the Medical Sciences Center**

Harel, A., Kravitz, D. J., & Baker, C. I. (2014). Task context impacts visual object processing differentially across the cortex. PNAS, 111(10), E962-E971. doi:10.1073/pnas.1312567111.

March 13

Knops A, Piazza M, Sengupta R, Eger E, & Melcher D (2014). A shared, flexible neural map architecture reflects capacity limits in both visual short-term memory and enumeration, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (30): 9857-9866. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2758-13.2014.

March 20

No Class - BP out of town


CNS practice talks

March 27

No Class - CNS

April 3

No Class - Spring Recess

April 10

No Class - BP out of town

April 17

Sprague, T. C., & Serences, J. T. (2013). Attention modulates spatial priority maps in the human occipital, parietal and frontal cortices. Nature Neuroscience, 16(12): 1879-1887. doi:10.1038/nn.3574.

April 24

Capotosto, P., Spadone, S., Tosoni, A., Sestieri, C., Romani, G. L., Penna, S. D., Corbetta, M. (2014). Dynamics of EEG rhythms support distinct visual selection mechanisms in parietal cortex: A simultaneous transcranial magnetic stimulation and EEG study. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(2): 721-730. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2066-14.2015.

May 1

Gunseli, E., Meeter, M., & Olivers, C. N.L. (2014). Is a search template an ordinary working memory? Comparing electrophysiological markers of working memory maintenance for visual search and recognition. Neuropsychologia, 60: 29-38. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.05.012.

May 8

Jacob, S. N., & Nieder, A. (2014). Complementary roles for primate frontal and parietal cortex in guarding working memory from distractor stimuli. Neuron, 83: 226-237. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.009.

Next Semester

Murray, J. D., Bernacchia, A., Freedman, D. J., Romo, R., Wallis, J. D., Cai, X., Padoa-Schioppa, C., Pasternak, T., Seo, H., Lee, D., & Wang, X.-J. (2014). A hierarchy of intrinsic timescales across primate cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 17(12): 1661-1663. doi:10.1038/nn.3862.

Womelsdorf T, Valiante TA, Sahin NT, Miller KJ, & Tiesinga P (2014). Dynamic circuit motifs underlying rhythmic gain control, gating and integration, Nature Neuroscience, 7(8): 1031-1039. doi:10.1038/nn.3764.

Where to take complaints about a Teaching Assistant or Course Instructor:

Occasionally, a student may have a complaint about a TA or course instructor. If that happens, you should feel free to discuss the matter directly with the TA or instructor. If the complaint is about the TA and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with him or her, you should discuss it with the course instructor. If you do not want to approach the instructor, make an appointment to speak to the Department Chair, Professor Patricia Devine, by emailing:

If your complaint has to do with sexual harassment, you may also take your complaint to Dan Barnish, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, phone 262-0512 or email him at His office is located on the second floor of the Psychology building, room 223.

If you believe the TA or course instructor has discriminated against you because of your religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background, you also may take your complaint to the Office of Equity and Diversity, room 179-A Bascom Hall, or go to:

Ethics of being a student in the Department of Psychology

The members of the faculty of the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison uphold the highest ethical standards of teaching and research. They expect their students to uphold the same standards of ethical conduct. By registering for this course, you are implicitly agreeing to conduct yourself with the utmost integrity throughout the semester.

In the Department of Psychology, acts of academic misconduct are taken very seriously. Such acts diminish the educational experience for all involved – students who commit the acts, classmates who would never consider engaging in such behaviors, and instructors. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, cheating on assignments and exams, stealing exams, sabotaging the work of classmates, submitting fraudulent data, plagiarizing the work of classmates or published and/or online sources, acquiring previously written papers and submitting them (altered or unaltered) for course assignments, collaborating with classmates when such collaboration is not authorized, and assisting fellow students in acts of misconduct. Students who have knowledge that classmates have engaged in academic misconduct should report this to the instructor.

For detailed information on how to avoid plagiarism, please see the following website:

Your instructor will contact you if s/he has concerns about academic misconduct. You will have an opportunity to explain your work and address your instructor’s concerns. Following the meeting, if your instructor believes that you engaged in misconduct, s/he will decide on an action. Following UW protocol, your instructor will inform the Dean of Students’ Office of the outcome of the meeting and proposed sanction. Penalties for substantiated cases of academic misconduct include a zero on the assignment or exam, a lower grade in the course, and failure in the course. Repeated acts of academic misconduct may result in more serious actions such as probation or suspension. For complete information on proper conduct, academic misconduct, and sanctions, please see UWS Chapter 14:

Instructional Accommodations

The University of Wisconsin-Madison supports the right of all enrolled students to a full and equal educational opportunity. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Wisconsin State Statute (36.12), and UW-Madison policy (Faculty Document 1071) require that students with disabilities be reasonably accommodated in instruction and campus life. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities is a shared faculty and student responsibility.

Students are expected to inform faculty [me] of their need for instructional accommodations by the end of the third week of the semester, or as soon as possible after a disability has been incurred or recognized. Faculty [I], will work either directly with the student [you] or in coordination with the McBurney Center to identify and provide reasonable instructional accommodations. Disability information, including instructional accommodations, as part of a studentʼs educational record is confidential and protected under FERPA.

Pandemic/Catastrophic Readiness

In the event that this course is no longer able to meet face-to-face, students should be up to date with course readings and prepared to be evaluated on their knowledge/reading of these materials via email communication with the professor or the lab manager. These readings can be found on the lab website at under the “Lab Meeting” tab. All questions during any such event should be addressed to the lab manager, Michael Starrett ( In additions students should monitor the UW-Madison homepage for emergency information and updates.

©2021 PostLab.