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Binding and content updating in working memory tasks



Working memory updating can involve processing of either a specific memory content or a binding. So far, research has focused mainly on single contents as objects of updating, via recall accuracy measures. Here, we have addressed more direct measurement of the updating process (i.e., response times), assessing individually the role of single contents, as well as bindings. To this end, we compared two updating tasks from separate research traditions: a RT-based computer task and a classical accuracy-based task. The former consisted of trials where measures of content and binding updating were obtained, allowing a dissociation between these two components. The latter measured recall accuracy and intrusion rate for lists of words under different conditions of maintenance/inhibition. These results enable a better understanding of the updating process for the dual components of binding and content updating, and their potential role in an accuracy-based task. An overlap between the underlying components of updating tasks was demonstrated, specifically between binding updating RT and intrusion rate. Notably, binding updating appears to be a more sensitive measure in explaining results in the classical updating task.