Visual working memory is an online workspace for temporarily representing visual information from the environment. The two most prevalent empirical characteristics of working memory are that it is supported by sustained neural activity over a delay period and it has a severely limited capacity for representing multiple items simultaneously. Traditionally, such delay activity and capacity limits have been considered to be exclusive for maintaining information about objects that are no longer visible to the observers. Here, by contrast, we provide both neurophysiological and psychophysical evidence that the sustained neural activity and capacity limits for items that are continuously visible to thehumanobserver are indistinguishable from those measured for items that are no longer visible. This holds true even when the observers know that the objects will not disappear from the visual field. These results demonstrate that our explicit representation of objects that are still "in view" is far more limited than previously assumed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas