Information from preceding trials of cognitive tasks can bias performance in the current trial, a phenomenon referred to as interference. Subjects performing visual working memory tasks exhibit interference in their responses: the recalled target location is biased in the direction of the target presented on the previous trial. We present modeling work that develops a probabilistic inference model of this history-dependent bias, and links our probabilistic model to computations of a recurrent network wherein short-term facilitation accounts for the observed bias. Network connectivity is reshaped dynamically during each trial, generating predictions from prior trial observations. Applying timescale separation methods, we obtain a low-dimensional description of the trial-to-trial bias based on the history of target locations. Furthermore, we demonstrate task protocols for which our model with facilitation performs better than a model with static connectivity: repetitively presented targets are better retained in working memory than targets drawn from uncorrelated sequences.
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Kilpatrick, Zachary P, "Synaptic mechanisms of interference in working memory" (2018). Applied Mathematics Faculty Contributions. 23.