An event-related potential study of working memory in children

Rong Liu, Chunyan Guo, Yang Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To examine the neural mechanisms of working memory in children, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from the 12-13 year-old while they performed a delayed match-to-sample task. The ERP results revealed that new and studied objects both evoked a late positive ERP component peaking around 350 ms during the working memory process. New objects evoke a more positive ERP waveform than the studied objects. The scalp distribution showed that the frontal-central electrode sites were associated with object working memory processes. When tracking new or studied targets among visual distracters, ERPs of targets and distracters revealed differential responses as early as 150 ms. The visual targets evoked larger and more positive ERP responses than the distracters. The typical old-new effect was observed between ERPs of studied and new distracters. However, ERPs of new and studied targets differed at about 250 ms, in which new targets evoked more positive-going and slightly earlier ERP responses. In addition, a P3a component was found for new targets only, and was absent in ERPs of studied targets at frontal and central sites. The present study results reveal the spatial and temporal characteristics of neural mechanisms underlying working memory in children, some of which are distinct from those in adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1475
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was conducted in the Beijing Key Laboratory and in conjunction with the Beijing Key Course. This work was supported by the Chinese Ministry of Education (Grant No. 20040028001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 30170322 & 30570603), Ministry of Science and Technology grant 95-special-09. Jing Yang is supported by National Institutes of Health (Grant No. AG00986).


  • Children
  • Distracter
  • ERP
  • Old-new effect
  • Target
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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