Representation of Objects and Scenes in Visual Working Memory in Human Brain

  • Jun Saiki


To interact efficiently with our world, not only perception of objects and scenes, but also maintenance of visual representations for a brief period is indispensable. In scene and object perception and recognition, this chapter focuses on explicit scene understanding composed of maintenance of object representations, dynamic updating of object representations, and formation of object representations by feature binding. Research on these component processes is first reviewed, and then their coordination, particularly the maintenance and updating of feature-bound representations, is discussed. Multiple feature-bound representations may be maintained and updated in parietal area, or alternatively, a limited number of feature-bound representations may be formed in anterior prefrontal area only when necessary. Recent studies using multiple object permanence tracking (MOPT) paradigm showed that both anterior prefrontal and frontoparietal network are necessary to maintain feature-bound representations, suggesting that the latter view may be more plausible.


Object Representation Visual Working Memory Superior Parietal Lobule Multiple Object Tracking Inferior Temporal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashbridge E, Cowey A, Wade D (1999) Does parietal cortex contribute to feature binding? Neuropsychologia 37:999–1004PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Braver TS, Cohen JD, Nystrom LE, Jonides J, Smith EE, Noll DC (1997) A parametric study of prefrontal cortex involvement in human working memory. NeuroImage 5:49–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen JD, Perlstein WM, Braver TS, Nystrom LE, Noll DC, Jonides J, Smith EE (1997) Temporal dynamics of brain activation during a working memory task. Nature (Lond) 386:604–608PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Corbetta M, Shulman GL, Miezin FM, Petersen SE (1995) Superior parietal cortex activation during spatial attention shifts and visual feature conjunction. Science 270:802–805PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Courtney SM, Ungerleider LG, Keil K, Haxby JV (1997) Transient and sustained activity in a distributed neural system for human working memory. Nature (Lond) 386:608–611PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Courtney SM, Petit L, Maisog J, Ungerleider LG, Haxby JV (1998) An area specialized for spatial working memory in human frontal cortex. Science 279:1347–1351PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Culham JC, Brandt SA, Cavanagh P, Kanwisher NG, Dale AM, Tootell RBH (1998) Cortical fMRI activation produced by attentive tracking of moving targets. J. Neurophysiol 80:2657–2670PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Culham JC, Cavanagh P, Kanwisher NG (2001) Attention response functions: characterizing brain areas using fMRI activation during parametric variations of attentional load. Neuron 32:737–745PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis CE, D’Esposito M (2003) Persistent activity in the prefrontal cortex during working memory. Trends Cognit Sci 9:415–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. D’Esposito M, Aguirre GK, Zarahn E, Ballard D, Shin RK, Lease J (1998) Functional MRI studies of spatial and nonspatial working memory. Cognit Brain Res 7:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Druzgal TJ, D’Esposito M (2003) Dissecting contributions of prefrontal cortex and fusiform face area to face working memory. J Cognit Neurosci 15:771–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elliott R, Dolan RJ (1998) The neural response in short-term visual recognition memory for perceptual conjunctions. NeuroImage 7:14–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Epstein R, Kanwisher N (1998) A cortical representation of the local visual environment. Nature (Lond) 392:598–601PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Freedman-Hill SR, Robertson LC, Treisman A (1995) Parietal contributions to visual feature binding: evidence from a patient with bilateral lesions. Science 269:853–855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Funahashi S, Bruce CJ, Goldman-Rakic PS (1989) Mnemonic coding of visual space in the monkey’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol 61:331–349PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Fuster JM, Alexander GE (1971) Neuron activity related to short-term memory. Science 173:652–654PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haxby JV, Petit L, Ungerleider LG, Courtney SM (2000) Distinguishing the functional roles of multiple regions in distributed neural systems for visual working memory. NeuroImage 11:98–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hochstein S, Ahissar M (2002) View from the top: hierarchies and reverse hierarchies in the visual system. Neuron 36:791–804PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Imaruoka T, Saiki J, Miyauchi S (2005) Maintaining coherence of dynamic objects requires coordination of neural systems extended from anterior frontal to posterior parietal brain cortices. NeuroImage 26:277–284PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jha AP, McCarthy G (2000) The influence of memory load upon delay-interval activity in a working-memory task: an event-related functional MRI study. J Cognit Neurosci 12(suppl 2):90–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jovicich J, Peters RJ, Koch C, Braun J, Chang L, Ernst T (2001) Brain areas specific for attentional load in a motion-tracking task. J Cognit Neurosci 13:1048–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kahneman D, Treisman A, Gibbs B (1992) The reviewing of object files: object-specific integration of information. Cognit Psychol 24:175–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leung HC, Gore JC, Goldman-Rakic PS (2002) Sustained mnemonic response in the human middle frontal gyrus during on-line strage of spatial memoranda. J Cognit Neurosci 14:659–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Linden DE, Bittner RA, Muckli L, Waltz JA, Kriegeskorte N, Goebel R, Singer W, Munk MH (2003) Cortical capacity constraints for visual working memory: dissociation of fMRI load effects in a frontoparietal network. NeuroImage 20:1518–1530PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Luck SJ, Vogel EK (1997) The capacity of visual working memory for features and conjunctions. Nature (Lond) 390:279–281PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller EK, Erickson CA, Desimone R (1996) Neural mechanisms of visual working memory in prefrontal cortex of the macaque. J Neurosci 16:5154–5167PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Mitchell KJ, Johnson MK, Raye CL, D’Esposito M (2000) fMRI evidence of age-related hippocampal dysfunction in feature binding in working memory. Cognit Brain Res 10:197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mohr HM, Goebel R, Linden DEJ (2006) Content-and task-specific dissociations of frontal activity during maintenance and manipulation in visual working memory. J Neurosci 26:4465–4471PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Munk MHJ, Linden DEJ, Muckli L, Lanfermann H, Zanella FE, Singer W, Goebel R (2002) Distributed cortical systems in visual short-term memory revealed by event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Cereb Cortex 12:866–876PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Owen AM, Evans AC, Petrides M (1998) Evidence for a two-stage model of spatial working memory processing within the lateral frontal cortex: a positron emission tomography study. Cereb Cortex 6:31–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pessoa L, Gutierrez E, Bandettini PA, Ungerleider LG (2002) Neural correlates of visual working memory: fMRI amplitude predicts task performance. Neuron 35:975–987PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Petrides M (1994) Frontal lobes and behaviour. Curr Opin Neurobiol 4:207–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Prabhakaran V, Narayanan K, Zhao Z, Gabrieli DE (2000) Integration of diverse information in working memory within the frontal lobe. Nat Neurosci 3:85–90PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pylyshyn ZW, Storm RW (1988) Tracking multiple independent targets: evidence for a parallel tracking mechanism. Spat Vis 3:179–197PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ramnani N, Owen AM (2004) Anterior prefrontal cortex: Insights into function from anatomy and neuroimaging. Nat Rev Neurosci 5:184–194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ranganath C, Cohen MX, Dam C, D’Esposito M (2004) Inferior temporal, prefrontal, and hippocampal contributions to visual working memory maintenance and associative memory retrieval. J Neurosci 24:3917–3925PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rees G, Frackowiak R, Frith C (1997) Two modulatory effects of attention that mediate object categorization in human cortex. Science 275:835–838PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rensink RA (2000) The dynamic representation of scenes. Vis Cognit 7:17–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rousselet GA, Thorpe SJ, Fabre-Thorpe M (2004) How parallel is visual processing in the ventral pathway? Trends Cognit Sci 8:363–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rowe JB, Toni I, Josephs O, Frackowiak RS, Passingham RE (2000) The prefrontal cortex: response selection or maintenance within working memory? Science 288:1656–1660PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rushworth MFS, Walton ME, Kennerley SW, Bannerman DM (2004) Action sets and decisions in the medial frontal cortex. Trends Cognit Sci 8:410–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Saiki J (2003a) Feature binding in object-file representations of multiple moving items. J Vision 3:6–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Saiki J (2003b) Spatiotemporal characteristics of dynamic feature binding in visual working memory. Vision Res 43:2107–2123PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Saiki J, Miyatsuji H (2005) Limitation of maintenance of feature-bound objects in visual working memory. Lect Notes Comput Sci 3704:215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Saiki J, Miyatsuji H (2007) Feature binding in visual working memory evaluated by type identification paradigm. Cognition 102:49–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sakai K, Rowe JB, Passingham RE (2002) Active maintenance in prefrontal area 46 creates distractor-resistant memory. Nat Neurosci 5:479–484PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Shafritz KM, Gore JC, Marois R (2002) The role of the parietal cortex in visual feature binding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99:10917–10922PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Singer W, Gray CM (1995) Visual feature integration and the temporal correlation hypothesis. Annu Rev Neurosci 18:555–586PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Song JH, Jiang Y (2006) Visual working memory for simple and complex features: an fMRI study. NeuroImage 30:963–972PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Takahama S, Saiki J, Misaki M, Miyauchi S (2005) The necessity of feature-location binding activates specific brain regions in visual working memory task: an event-related fMRI study. Soc Neurosci AbstrGoogle Scholar
  51. Thorpe S, Fize D, Marlot C (1996) Speed of processing in the human visual system. Nature (Lond) 381:520–522PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Todd JJ, Marois R (2004) Capacity limit of visual short-term memory in human posterior parietal cortex. Nature (Lond) 428:751–754PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Torralba A, Oliva A (2003) Statistics of natural image categories. Network Comput Neural Syst 14:391–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Treisman A (1988) Features and objects. The fourteenth Bartlett memorial lecture. Q J Exp Psychol Hum Exp Psychol 40:201–237Google Scholar
  55. Vogel EK, Machizawa MG (2004) Neural activity predicts individual differences in visual working memory capacity. Nature (Lond) 428:748–751PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wheeler ME, Treisman A (2002) Binding in short-term visual memory. J Exp Psychol Gen 131:48–64PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wojciulik E, Kanwisher N (1999) The generality of parietal involvement in visual attention. Neuron 23:747–764PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Xu Y, Chun MM (2006) Dissociable neural mechanisms supporting visual short-term memory for objects. Nature (Lond) 440:91–95PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Saiki
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations