Visual working memory and action: Functional links and bi-directional influences

Freek van Ede*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Working memory bridges perception to action over extended delays, enabling flexible goal-directed behaviour. To date, studies of visual working memory–concerned with detailed visual representations such as shape and colour–have considered visual memory predominantly in the context of visual task demands, such as visual identification and search. Another key purpose of visual working memory is to directly inform and guide upcoming actions. Taking this as a starting point, I review emerging evidence for the pervasive bi-directional links between visual working memory and (planned) action, and discuss these links from the perspective of their common goal of enabling flexible and precise behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number5-8
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging is supported by core funding from the Wellcome Trust (203139/Z/16/Z). I wish to thank Sage Boettcher and Kia Nobre for their valuable comments during the drafting of this article, as well as Werner Schneider, Stefan van der Stigchel, and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments during the review process.

FundersFunder number
Sage Boettcher and Kia Nobre
Wellcome Trust203139/Z/16/Z


    • action
    • anticipation
    • attention
    • planning
    • vision
    • Working memory


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