Working memory control dynamics follow principles of spatial computing

Mikael Lundqvist, Scott L. Brincat, Jonas Rose, Melissa R. Warden, Timothy J. Buschman, Earl K. Miller, Pawel Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Working memory (WM) allows us to remember and selectively control a limited set of items. Neural evidence suggests it is achieved by interactions between bursts of beta and gamma oscillations. However, it is not clear how oscillations, reflecting coherent activity of millions of neurons, can selectively control individual WM items. Here we propose the novel concept of spatial computing where beta and gamma interactions cause item-specific activity to flow spatially across the network during a task. This way, control-related information such as item order is stored in the spatial activity independent of the detailed recurrent connectivity supporting the item-specific activity itself. The spatial flow is in turn reflected in low-dimensional activity shared by many neurons. We verify these predictions by analyzing local field potentials and neuronal spiking. We hypothesize that spatial computing can facilitate generalization and zero-shot learning by utilizing spatial component as an additional information encoding dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1429
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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