Neural limits to representing objects still within view

Hiroyuki Tsubomi*, Keisuke Fukuda, Katsumi Watanabe, Edward K. Vogel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Visual working memory is an online workspace for temporarily representing visual information from the environment. The two most prevalent empirical characteristics of working memory are that it is supported by sustained neural activity over a delay period and it has a severely limited capacity for representing multiple items simultaneously. Traditionally, such delay activity and capacity limits have been considered to be exclusive for maintaining information about objects that are no longer visible to the observers. Here, by contrast, we provide both neurophysiological and psychophysical evidence that the sustained neural activity and capacity limits for items that are continuously visible to thehumanobserver are indistinguishable from those measured for items that are no longer visible. This holds true even when the observers know that the objects will not disappear from the visual field. These results demonstrate that our explicit representation of objects that are still "in view" is far more limited than previously assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8257-8263
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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