Saturation of auditory short-term memory causes a plateau in the sustained anterior negativity event-related potential.

Abstract

The maintenance of information in auditory short-term memory (ASTM) is accompanied by a sustained anterior negativity (SAN) in the event-related potential measured during the retention interval of simple auditory memory tasks. Previous work on ASTM showed that the amplitude of the SAN increased in negativity as the number of maintained items increases. The aim of the current study was to measure the SAN and observe its behavior beyond the point of saturation of auditory short-term memory. We used atonal pure tones in sequences of 2, 4, 6, or 8t. Our results showed that the amplitude of SAN increased in negativity from 2 to 4 items and then levelled off from 4 to 8 items. Behavioral results suggested that the average span in the task was slightly below 3, which was consistent with the observed plateau in the electrophysiological results. Furthermore, the amplitude of the SAN predicted individual differences in auditory memory capacity. The results support the hypothesis that the SAN is an electrophysiological index of brain activity specifically related to the maintenance of auditory information in ASTM.

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.09.047

Cite this paper

@article{AlunniMenichini2014SaturationOA, title={Saturation of auditory short-term memory causes a plateau in the sustained anterior negativity event-related potential.}, author={Kristelle Alunni-Menichini and Synthia Guimond and Patrick Bermudez and Sophie Nolden and Christine Lefebvre and Pierre Jolicoeur}, journal={Brain research}, year={2014}, volume={1592}, pages={55-64} }