Concurrent visual and motor selection during visual working memory guided action.
van Ede F., Chekroud SR., Stokes MG., Nobre AC.
Visual working memory enables us to hold onto past sensations in anticipation that these may become relevant for guiding future actions. Yet laboratory tasks have treated visual working memories in isolation from their prospective actions and have focused on the mechanisms of memory retention rather than utilization. To understand how visual memories become used for action, we linked individual memory items to particular actions and independently tracked the neural dynamics of visual and motor selection when memories became used for action. This revealed concurrent visual-motor selection, engaging appropriate visual and motor brain areas at the same time. Thus we show that items in visual working memory can invoke multiple, item-specific, action plans that can be accessed together with the visual representations that guide them, affording fast and precise memory-guided behavior.