Dr.Huan Luo: Reactivating ordinal position information from auditory sequence memory in human brains


Retaining a sequence of events in their order is a core ability of many cognitive functions, such as speech recognition, movement control, and episodic memory. Although content representations have been widely studied in working memory (WM), little is known about how ordinal position information of an auditory sequence is retained in the human brain as well as its coding characteristics. In fact, there is still a lack of an efficient approach to directly accessing the stored ordinal position code during WM retention. Here, 31 participants performed an auditory sequence WM task with their brain activities recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). We developed new triggering events that could successfully reactivate neural representations of ordinal position during the delay period. Importantly, the ordinal position reactivation is further related to recognition behavior, confirming its indexing of WM storage. Furthermore, the ordinal position code displays an intriguing “stable-dynamic” format, i.e. undergoing the same dynamic neutral trajectory in the multivariate neural space during both encoding and retention (whenever reactivated). Overall, our results provide an effective approach to accessing the behaviorally-relevant ordinal position information in auditory sequence WM and reveal its new temporal characteristics.

 Original link: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac471