Information maintenance in working memory: an integrated presentation of cognitive and neural concepts.

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Martini, M., Furtner, M., Maran, T., & Sachse, P. (2015). Information maintenance in working memory: an integrated presentation of cognitive and neural concepts. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9, 104.

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal


Working memory (WM) maintains information in a state that it is available for processing. A host of various concepts exist which define this core function at different levels of abstraction. The present article intended to bring together existing cognitive and neural explanatory approaches about the architecture and neural mechanisms of information maintenance in WM. For this, we highlight how existing WM concepts define information retention and present different methodological approaches which led to the assumption that information can exist in various components and states. This view is broadened by neural concepts focussing on various forms of phase synchronization and molecular biological mechanisms relevant for retaining information in an active state. An integrated presentation of different concepts and methodological approaches can deepen our understanding of this central WM function. Cognitive abilities such as speaking, writing, navigating, reasoning, planning, and problem solving can all be related to a cognitive construct called working memory (WM). WM maintains information and makes it available for processing (Oberauer and Hein, 2012). We intended to look at this core function from central cognitive and neural angles. Specifically, the present article brings together various explanations about what is understood by information retention. Therefore, we focus on various WM concepts and how the maintenance function is implemented and investigated. This is followed by highlighting neural concepts which base their assumptions on findings that short-term maintenance can be viewed as synchronized neural activity and present relevant molecular biological mechanisms which were identified when information is retained in an active state.


Organizational Units

  • Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership

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