Temporal Dynamics of Memory-guided Cognitive Control and Generalization of Control via Overlapping Associative Memories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Goal-directed behavior can benefit from proactive adjustments of cognitive control that occur in anticipation of forthcoming cognitive control demands (CCD). Predictions of forthcoming CCD are thought to depend on learning and memory in two ways: First, through direct experience, associative encoding may link previously experienced CCD to its triggering item, such that subsequent encounters with the item serve to cue retrieval of (i.e., predict) the associated CCD. Second, in the absence of direct experience, pattern completion and mnemonic integration mechanisms may allow CCD to be generalized from its associated item to other items related in memory. While extant behavioral evidence documents both types of CCD prediction, the neurocognitive mechanisms giving rise to these predictions remain largely unexplored. Here, we tested two hypotheses: (1) memory-guided predictions about CCD precede control adjustments due to the actual CCD required to perform, and (2) generalization of CCD can be accomplished through integration mechanisms that link partially overlapping CCD—item and item—item associations in memory. Supporting these hypotheses, the temporal dynamics of theta and alpha power in human electroencephalography data (n=43, 26 females) revealed that an associative CCD effect emerges earlier than interaction effects involving actual CCD. Furthermore, generalization of CCD from one item (X) to another item (Y) was predicted by a decrease in alpha power following the presentation of the X—Y pair. These findings advance understanding of the mechanisms underlying memory-guided adjustments of cognitive control.


External organisations
  • Stanford University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Feb 4
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Mikael Johansson

Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond

2016/07/01 → …

Project: Research

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