Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 2, pp 503–509 | Cite as

The success of the representation maintenance affects the memory-guided search processing: an ERP study

  • Min Wang
  • Ping Yang
  • Zhenlan Jin
  • Junjun Zhang
  • Ling LiEmail author
Research Article


Previous evidence showed that working memory (WM) contents can bias visual selection. However, less is known about how the WM effects change when the WM representation is not held successfully. Here, we investigated this problem using event-related potentials. Subjects maintained a color in WM while performing a search task. The color cue contained the target (valid) or the distractor (invalid). Subjects could either remember the color accurately (correct WM) or not (incorrect WM). An N2-posterior contralateral component and a sustained posterior contralateral negativity (SPCN) were recorded in the valid and incorrect WM condition, while only an attenuated SPCN was elicited in the valid and correct WM condition. No reliable lateralized components were found for the invalid trials. These findings suggest that the WM effects on visual search are affected by the resource interchange between WM and search processes.


Visual search Working memory N2pc SPCN Competition Processing resources 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China projects (Grant numbers 61773092, 61473062, 61673087); the 111 Project (Grant number B12027); and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Author contributions

MW, PY, ZLJ, JJZ and LL conceived and designed the experiments. MW and PY performed the experiments. MW and PY analyzed the data. MW wrote the main manuscript text. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Wang
    • 1
  • Ping Yang
    • 2
  • Zhenlan Jin
    • 1
  • Junjun Zhang
    • 1
  • Ling Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation of Ministry of Education, High-Field Magnetic Resonance Brain Imaging Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and TechnologyUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina
  2. 2.Institute for Brain Research and RehabilitationSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina

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