Dr. Huan Luo: Sequence structure organizes items in varied latent states of working memory neural network



In memory experiences, events do not exist independently but are linked with each other via structure-based organization. Structure context largely influences memory behavior, but how it is implemented in the brain remains unknown. Here, we combined magnetoencephalogram (MEG) recordings, computational modeling, and impulse-response approaches to probe the latent states when subjects held a list of items in working memory (WM). We demonstrate that sequence context reorganizes WM items into distinct latent states, that is, being reactivated at different latencies during WM retention, and the reactivation profiles further correlate with recency behavior. In contrast, memorizing the same list of items without sequence task requirements weakens the recency effect and elicits comparable neural reactivations. Computational modeling further reveals a dominant function of sequence context, instead of passive memory decaying, in characterizing recency effect. Taken together, sequence structure context shapes the way WM items are stored in the human brain and essentially influences memory behavior.

Original Link: https://elifesciences.org/articles/67589