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Short-term memory

Short-term memory is part of the system known as working memory - the mechanism by which we retain and manipulate information over short time intervals. Working memory is considered to be a fundamental cognitive process, required to perform many everyday tasks and closely correlated with intelligence.

Our research provides a fundamental challenge to conventional wisdom which considers visual working memory to be limited to a fixed number of items - just 3 or 4 - that are stored with every glimpse of the visual scene. Using precision of memory recall we have provided compelling evidence that visual working memory is not in fact ‘quantal’, but a limited resource that can be flexibly redistributed. With increasing number of items held in memory, however, the fidelity and resolution with which each object is stored declines.


You can find out more about our research on short-term / working memory and related topics, including application to patient populations, by downloading the articles below.


Reviews & Commentaries

Zokaei N, Husain M (2019) Working Memory in Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease Current Top Behav Neurosci (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 31347008

Manohar SG, Pertzov Y, Husain M (2017) Short-term memory for spatial, sequential and duration information. Current Opinon in Behavioural Sciences 17:20-26.

Fallon S, Zokaei N, Husain M (2016) Causes and consequences of limitations in visual working memory. Ann NY Acad Sci (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 26773268.

Ma WJ, Husain M, Bays PM. (2014) Changing concepts of working memory. Nature Neuroscience 2014, 17:347-356. PMID:24569831

Zokaei N, Ning S, Manohar S, Feredoes E, Husain M. (2014) Flexibility of representational states in working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8-853 PMID:25414654


Research Papers

Fallon SJ, Gowell M, Maio MR, Husain M (2019) Dopamine affects short-term memory corruption over time in Parkinson's disease. Nature Partner Journals Parkinson's Disease 5:16. PMID: 31396548

Fallon SJ, Dolfen N, Parolo F, Zokaei N, Husain M (2019) Task-irrelevant financial losses inhibit the removal of information from working memory. Scientific Reports 9:1673 PMID: 30737421

Sahan MI, Dalmaijer ES, Verguts T, Husain M, Fias W (2019) The Graded Fate of Unattended Stimulus Representations in Visuospatial Working Memory. Frontiers Psychol 10:374 PMID: 30863347

Manohar SG, Zokaei N, Fallon SJ, Vogels TP, Husain M (2019) Neural mechanisms of attending to items in working memory. Neurosci Biobehav Rev (Epub ahead of print)

Tabi YA, Husain M, Manohar SG (2019) Recall cues interfere with retrieval from visuospatial working memory. Br J Psychol (Epub ahead of print)

Zokaei N, Nour NM, Sillence , Drew D, Adcock J, Stacey R, Voets N, Sen A, Husain M (2018) Binding deficits in visual short-term memory in patients with temporal lobectomy. Hippocampus (Epub ahead of print).

Fallon SJ, Mattiesing RM, Dolfen N, Manohar SG, Husain M (2018) Ignoring versus updating in working memory reveal differential roles of attention and feature binding. Cortex (Epub ahed of print).

Fallon SJ, Mattiesing RM, Muhammed K, Manohar S, Husain M (2017) Fractionating the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying working memory: Independent effects of dopamine and Parkinson's disease. Cerebral Cortex (Epub ahead of print)

Koyluoglu OO, Pertzov Y, Manohar S, Husain M, Fiete IR (2017) Fundamental bound on the persistence and capacity of short-term memory stored as graded persistent activity. ELife 6:e22225

Zokaei N, Giehl K, Sillence A, Neville MJ, Karpe F, Nobre AC, Husain M (2017) Sex and APOE: A memory advantage in male APOE ε4 carriers in midlife. Cortex (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 28086184

Fallon SJ, Zokaei N, Norbury A, Manohar SG, Husain M (2017) Dopamine alters the fidelity of working memory representations according to attentional demands. J Cogn Neurosci (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 27897674

Pertzov Y, Manohar G, Husain M (2016) Rapid forgetting results from competition over time between items in visual working memory. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 27668485

Liang Y, Pertzov Y, Nicholas JM, Henley SM, Crutch S, Woodward F, Leung K, Fox NC, Husain M (2016) Visual short-term memory binding deficit in familial Alzheimer's disease. Cortex 78: 150-64 PMID: 27085491

Heinen K, Magliano L, Nandini M, Husain M, Cappelletti M, Zokaei N (2016) Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation over posterior parietal cortex enhances distinct aspects of visual working memory. Neuropsychologia (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 27143222

Burnett Heyes S, Zokaei N, Husain M (2016) Longitudinal development of visual working memory precision in childhood and early adolescence. Cognitive Development 39: 36-44

Manohar S, Husain M (2016) Working memory for sequences of temporal durations reveals a volatile single-item store. Frontiers in Psychology. 7: 1655

Joseph S, Teki S, Kumar S, Husain M, Griffiths T (2016) Resource allocation models of auditory working memory. Brain Res (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 26835560

Rolinski H*, Zokaei N*, Baig F, Giehl K, Quinnell T, Zaiwalla Z, Mackay CE, Husain M, Hu MTM (2015) Visual short-term memory in REM sleep behaviour disorder mirror those in Parkinson's disease. Brain (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 26582557

Joseph S, Iverson P, Manohar S, Fox Z, Scott SK, Husain M (2015) Precision of working memory for speech sounds. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 25607721

Joseph S, Kumar S, Husain M, Griffiths TD (2015) Auditory working memory for objects vs. features. Frontiers in Neuroscience 9, 13 PMID: 25709563

Zokaei N, Manohar S, Husain M, Feredoes E. (2014) Causal Evidence for a Privileged Working Memory State in Early Visual Cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience 34: 158-162. PMID:2438127

Zokaei N, McNeill A, Proukakis C, Beavan M, Jarman P, Korlipara P, Hughes D, Mehta A, Hu MTM, Schapira AHV, Husain M. (2014) Visual short-term memory deficits associated with GBA mutation and Parkinson’s disease. Brain 137: 2303-2311. PMID:24919969

de Bourbon-Teles J, Bentley P, Koshino S, Shah K, Dutta A, Malhotra P, Egner T, Husain M, Soto D. (2014) Thalamic control of human attention driven by memory and learning. Current Biology 24: 993-999. PMID:24746799

Pertzov Y, Heider M, Liang Y, Husain M. (2014) Effects of Healthy Ageing on Precision and Binding of Object Location in Visual Short Term Memory. Psychol Aging 30, 26-35. PMID: 25528066

Zokaei N, Heider M, Husain M. (2014) Attention is required for maintenance of feature binding in visual working memory. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67: 1191-213 PMID:24266343

Zokaei N, Burnett  Heyes S, Gorgoraptis N, Budheo S, Husain M. (2014) Working memory recall precision is a more sensitive measure than span. J Neuropsychology (Epub ahead of print) PMID:25208525

Pearson B, Raskevicius J, Bays PM, Pertzov Y, Husain M. (2014) Working memory as a decision process. Journal Vision. 2:1-15. PMID:24492597

Pertzov Y, Husain M. (2014) The privileged role of location in visual working memory. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 76: 1914-24.  PMID:24027033.

Pertzov Y, Miller TD, Gorgoraptis N, Caine D, Schott JM, Butler C, Husain M. (2013) Binding deficits in memory following medial temporal lobe damage in patients with voltage-gated potassium channel complex antibody-associated limbic encephalitis. Brain 136: 2474-85. PMID:23757763

Peich M, Husain M, Bays PM. (2013) Age-related decline of precision and binding in visual working memory. Psychology & Aging 28: 729-43. PMID:23978008

Pertzov Y, Bays PM, Joseph S, Husain M. (2013Rapid forgetting prevented by retrospective attention cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance 39: 1224-31. PMID:23244045

Kumar S, Joseph S, Pearson B, Teki S, Fox ZV, Griffiths TD, Husain M. (2013) Resource allocation and prioritization in auditory working memory. Cognitive Neuroscience 4:12-20. PMID:23486527

Burnett Heyes S, Zokaei N, van der Staaj I, Bays PM, Husain M. (2012) Development of visual working memory precision in childhood. Developmental Science 15: 528-39. PMID:22709402 PMC3401951

Pertzov Y, Dong MY, Peich MC, Husain M. (2012) Forgetting what was where: the fragility of object-location binding. PLoS One 7: e48214. PMID:23118956 PMC3485137

Gorgoraptis N, Catalao R, Bays P, Husain M. (2011)  Dynamic updating of working memory resources for visual objectsJournal of Neuroscience  31: 8502-8511. PMID:21653854 PMC3124758

Bays PM, Wu EY, Husain M. (2011) Storage and binding of object features in visual working memory.  Neuropsychologia 49: 1622-31. PMID:21172364 PMC3119435

Bays PM, Catalao RFG, Husain M. (2009) The precision of visual working memory is set by allocation of a shared resource. Journal of Vision 9: 1-11. PMID:19810788 PMC3118422

Bays P, Husain M. (2009) Scientific commentary: Response to ‘Comment on: Dynamic Shifts of Limited Working Memory Resources in Human Vision.’ Science 323: 877d. PMID:22822271 PMC3400944

Bays PM, Husain M. (2008) Dynamic Shifts of Limited Working Memory Resources in Human Vision. Science 321: 851-854. PMID:18687968 PMC2532743

Vuilleumier P, Sergent C, Schwartz S, Valenza N, Girardi M, Husain M, Driver J. (2008)  Impaired perceptual memory of locations across gaze-shifts in patients with unilateral neglect. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 19:1388-406. PMID:17651010 PMC2601183

Hartley T, Bird CM, Chan D, Cipolotti L, Husain M, Vargha-Khadem F, Burgess N. (2007) The hippocampus is required for short-term topographical memory in humans. Hippocampus 17: 34-48. PMID:17143905 PMC2677717

Malhotra P, Jäger HR, Playford ED, Brown MM, Driver J, Husain M. (2005) Spatial Working Memory Capacity in Unilateral Neglect. Brain 128: 424-435. PMID:15644422

Mannan S, Mort D, Hodgson T, Driver J, Kennard C, Husain M. (2005) Revisiting previously searched locations in visual neglect: Role of right parietal and frontal lesions in misjudging old locations as new. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 17: 340-354. PMID:1581124

Malhotra P, Mannan S, Driver J, Husain M. (2004) Impaired spatial working memory: One component of the visual neglect syndrome? Cortex 40: 667-676. PMID:15505977

Wojciulik E, Rorden C, Clarke K, Husain M, Driver J. (2004) Group study of an "undercover" test for visuospatial neglect: invisible cancellation can reveal more neglect than standard cancellation. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 75:1356-8. PMID:15314135 PMC1739211

Vuilleumier P, Schwartz S, Clarke K, Husain M, Driver J. (2002) Testing Memory for Unseen Visual Stimuli in Patients with Extinction and Spatial Neglect. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14: 875-886. PMID:12191455

Husain M, Mannan S, Hodgson T, Wojciulik E, Driver J, Kennard C. (2001) Impaired spatial working memory across saccades contributes to abnormal search in parietal neglect. Brain 124: 941-952. PMID:11335696

Wojciulik E, Husain M, Clarke K, Driver J. (2001)  Spatial working memory deficit in unilateral neglect. Neuropsychologia 39: 390–396. PMID: 11164877

Walker R, Husain M, Hodgson T, Harrison J, Kennard C. (1998) Saccadic eye movement and working memory deficits following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Neuropsychologia 36: 1141-1159. PMID: 9842760