Visual working memory provide a key interface between perceptual processes and higher-level cognitive processes.  Intriguingly, the capacity of visual working memory for simple features is strongly predictive of IQ and other measures of broad cognitive ability. Current topics of research include:

  • The nature of visual working memory representations and capacity limitations

  • The role of visual working memory as a buffer for non-automated cognitive operations

  • Impairments of visual working memory in people with schizophrenia

  • Neural mechanisms of visual working memory

  • The use of visual working memory to control the allocation of attention

  • Development of visual working memory in infancy


Key Publications

(Grad students and postdocs shown in boldface)

  • Luck, S. J., & Vogel, E. K. (1997). The capacity of visual working memory for features and conjunctions. Nature, 390, 279-281.

  • Woodman, G. F., Vogel, E. K., & Luck, S. J. (2001). Visual search remains efficient when visual working memory is full. Psychological Science, 12, 219-224.

  • Zhang, W., & Luck, S. J. (2008). Discrete fixed-resolution representations in visual working memory. Nature, 453, 233-235.

  • Zhang, W., & Luck, S. J. (2009). Sudden death and gradual decay in visual working memory. Psychological Science, 20, 423-428.

  • Zhang, W., & Luck, S. J. (2011). The Number and Quality of Representations in Working Memory. Psychological Science, 22, 1434-1441.

  • Beck, V. M., Hollingworth, A., & Luck, S. J. (2012). Simultaneous Control of Attention by Multiple Working Memory Representations. Psychological Science, 23, 887-898.

  • Johnson, M. K., McMahon, R. P., Robinson, B. M., Harvey, A. N., Hahn, B., Leonard, C. J., Luck, S. J., & Gold, J. M. (2013). The relationship between working memory capacity and broad measures of cognitive ability in healthy adults and people with schizophrenia. Neuropsychology, 27, 220-229.

  • Leonard, C. J., Kaiser, S. T., Robinson, B. M., Kappenman, E. S., Hahn, B., Gold, J. M., & Luck, S. J. (2012). Toward the neural mechanisms of reduced working memory capacity in schizophrenia. Cerebral Cortex, 23, 1582-1592.

  • Luck, S. J., & Vogel, E. K. (2013). Visual Working Memory Capacity: From Psychophysics and Neurobiology to Individual Differences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 391-400.

  • Bae, G- Y., & Luck, S. J. (2018). Dissociable Decoding of Working Memory and Spatial Attention from EEG Oscillations and Sustained Potentials. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 409-422.


The E-Prime script for the change localization task described by Johnson et al. (2013) can be downloaded here.