Selective information processing

Principal investigators:

Dr. Daniel Schneider

Staff: Laura-Isabelle Klatt, Marlene Rösner, Melinda Sabo

In many situations in today’s working environments, we are confronted with high demands on our information processing abilities. For example, controlling a motor vehicle or working with a computer requires the simultaneous analysis of a large number of perceptual stimuli. These high demands are faced with a processing system that is limited in its capacity. In the field of visuo-spatial information processing, previous studies have shown that only 3-4 units of information can be stored simultaneously in working memory. Cognitive-psychological theories describe working memory as a mechanism that enables active maintenance of transient information for higher cognitive operations. Therefore, the representation of relevant information in working memory is a prerequisite for intentional interaction with our environment.

We investigate the neural mechanisms that guarantee the persistent representation of action-relevant information in working memory. Therefore, the selection of perceptual information (visual and auditory) is investigated in the first place. However, attention can also be focused on mental representations in working memory. This serves to orient the contents in working memory in favor of relevant information and allows us to adapt behavior to a dynamic environment. In this context, we investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms responsible for the reorganization of working memory contents. In addition, in another project (, we are investigating the influence of cognitive control processes on the selective retrieval of information from episodic memory. An essential component of this research is data collection based on electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Recent publications

Getzmann, S., Klatt, L.I., Schneider, D., Begau, A., & Wascher, E. (2020). EEG correlates of spatial shifts of attention in a dynamic multi-talker speech perception scenario in younger and older adults. Hearing Research, 398.

Klatt, L.I., Schneider, D. Schubert, A.-L., Hanenberg, C., Lewald, J., Wascher, E., Getzmann, S. (2020). Unraveling the Relation between EEG Correlates of Attentional Orienting and Sound Localization Performance: A Diffusion Model Approach. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32, 5, 945-962.

Klatt, L.I., Getzmann, S., Begau, A., & Schneider, D. (2020). A dual mechanism underlying retroactive shifts of auditory spatial attention: dissociating target-and distractor-related modulations of alpha lateralization. Scientific Reports, 10(1).

Rösner, M., Arnau, S., Skiba, I., Wascher, E., & Schneider, D. (2020). The spatial orienting of the focus of attention in working memory makes use of inhibition: Evidence by hemispheric asymmetries in posterior alpha oscillations. Neuropsychologia, 107442.

Schneider, D., Zickerick, B., Thönes, S., & Wascher, E. (2020). Encoding, storage, and response preparation—Distinct EEG correlates of stimulus and action representations in working memory. Psychophysiology, 57(6).