All Updateable Objects in Working Memory Are Updated Whenever Any of Them Are Modified: Evidence From the Memory Updating Paradigm

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In a series of experiments, participants were required to keep track of 1 or 2 working memory (WM) objects, having to update their values in 80% of the trials. Updating cost, defined as the difference between update and non-update trials, was larger when 2 objects were involved compared with when there was only 1 object was involved. This finding was interpreted as evidence that the updating process encompasses both objects in WM, even though only 1 of them is actually updated. This feature of WM updating is limited to objects defined as “updateable,” throughout the trial sequence. The results are explained by the need to reprogram the phonological loop when updating or the need for desynchronization followed by resynchronization of WM contents.

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