Stronger neural dynamics capture changes in infants’ visual working memory capacity over development


Sammy Perone, Department of Psychology, E11 Seashore Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; e-mail:


Visual working memory (VWM) capacity has been studied extensively in adults, and methodological advances have enabled researchers to probe capacity limits in infancy using a preferential looking paradigm. Evidence suggests that capacity increases rapidly between 6 and 10 months of age. To understand how the VWM system develops, we must understand the relationship between the looking behavior used to study VWM and underlying cognitive processes. We present a dynamic neural field model that captures both real-time and developmental processes underlying performance. Three simulation experiments show how looking is linked to VWM processes during infancy and how developmental changes in performance could arise through increasing neural connectivity. These results provide insight into the sources of capacity limits and VWM development more generally.