Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

N-Back Paradigm

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1315-2



The n-back is a paradigm used to assess working memory function in research settings. It is widely used in functional neuroimaging research. During the n-back series, sequential stimuli are presented individually. The examinee holds each stimulus in short-term memory, while new stimuli are presented. For each new item presented, the examinee’s task is to decide if it is the same as the stimulus presented “ n” items before. For example, during a 2-back task (i.e., n = 2), the response would be “yes” if the stimulus currently presented matches the stimulus presented two earlier. Examinees usually respond with a button press on a computer keyboard or a response box connected to a computer that presents the paradigm. The most common levels of “ n” are 1-back, 2-back, and 3-back, with a 0-back control task frequently used for baseline performance in functional neuroimaging experiments. During the 0-back, the examinee is asked to respond yes each time a...
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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown University, Butler HospitalProvidenceUSA