Self-initiating stimulus in Short Term Memory: differential effects of temporal prediction and motor control

Poster Presentation: Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Banyan Breezeway
Session: Visual Memory: Working memory and encoding, retrieval

Rocio Loyola Navarro1,2,3 (), Ricardo Mendoza3, Pedro Maldonado3,4; 1Universidad de Chile, Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación, Instituto de Estudios Avanzados en Educación, 2Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Departamento de Educación Diferencial, Facultad de Filosofía y Educación, 3Universidad de Chile, Departamento de Neurociencia, Facultad de Medicina, 4Centro de Inteligencia Artificial (CENIA), Santiago Chile

Classic studies of Short Term Memory (STM) required passively waiting for the stimulus. In contrast, sensory activation is typically the result of self-initiated movements in natural behavior. It has previously shown that self-initiation improves accuracy in an STM task (Loyola et al., 2022). However, it is still unknown whether this effect is related to the temporal predictability or to the activation of motor systems produced during self-initiation (motor control). We hypothesize that both mechanisms have independent effects on STM accuracy. Undergraduate students underwent a modified Stenberg task, which was designed to manipulate the degree of motor control and temporal predictability of the stimulus onset. We created five conditions: Active Predictable (AP), Active Unpredictable (AU), Passive Predictable (PP), Passive Unpredictable (PU) and Motor Only (MO). In the active conditions, the participants had full motor control over the stimulus onset, while in the passive conditions, they had no motor control. The stimulus was presented at a fixed time in the predictable conditions, while in the unpredictable conditions, the stimulus appeared randomly. MO condition consisted of button presses at given times, with no STM task related. Contrary to our previous results, our current results show that the AP condition performs worst (accuracy mean = 0.79). Two-way paired ANOVA yields a significant main effect of predictability on accuracy only (p = 0.004). Paired t-tests corrected by Holm method show a significant difference between AP and AU (p = 0.034), and between AP and PU (p = 0.043). These results suggest that STM is taxed more strongly when subjects control the onset of the stimulus and the time of presentation is predictable, but also indicate that predictability seems to be a major factor in this effect.

Acknowledgements: ANID FONDECYT postdoc 322004 and Support from ANID/PIA/Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence FB0003 are gratefully acknowledged. Funds from PROYECTO ACE 210007 is gratefully acknowledged