Siobhán O’Neill S.N.: 109345990
Practical Report 2 due 29th November 2010
Working memory is a short-term cognitive system used for storing and manipulatinginformation. This system is constantly processing information and facing distractions (Jaeggi,Buschkuehl, Perrig & Meier 2010). Cognitive theorists have suggested that higher functionsare reliant on working memory (Braver et al., 1997). The n-back task has become a popularexperimental paradigm in the area of working memory with many studies conducted in thearea of neuroimaging (Owen, McMillan, Laird & Bullmore, 2005). N-back has become apopular measure of working memory because n-back tasks allows for ways to manipulateworking memory load and because their response requirements are less complex than otherworking memory capacity tasks (Jaeggi et al., 2010).N-back tasks present continuous stimuli sequences to the participants, such as lettersin a verbal n-back task. For each stimulus in the sequence the participants must decidewhether it matched the stimulus presented n items ago (Kane, Conway, Miura & Colflesh,2007). This task is a complex measure comprising several processes, such as encodingincoming stimuli, updating the material and matching the stimuli to the ones n-back, whichare largely material and stimulus dependent (Jaeggi et al., 2010).Research conducted by Jaeggi et al (2010), using three n-back task experiments(visuo-spatial, auditory and dual task) with three levels of difficulty (1-, 2- and 3-back) andan ISI of 2500ms suggests that the type of n-back experiment is not significant to n-back performance. Whereas a study done by Intraub (1980) using different levels of ISI betweenshowing participants stimuli found that the higher the ISI the better the visuo-spatial elementsof the stimulus were remembered.