Sensory recruitment in visual short‐term memory: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of sensory visual cortex interference using transcranial magnetic stimulation


Sensory visual areas are involved in encoding information in visual short-term memory (VSTM).Yet it remains unclear whether sensory visual cortex is a necessary component of the brain network for maintenance of information in VSTM. Here, we aimed to systematically review studies that have investigated the role of the sensory visual cortex in VSTM using tran- scranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and to quantitatively explore these effects using meta-analyses. Fourteen studies were identified and reviewed. Eight studies provided sufficient data for meta-analysis. Two meta-analyses, one regarding the VSTM encoding phase (17 effect sizes) and one regarding the VSTM maintenance phase (15 effect sizes), two meta-regressions (32 effect sizes in each), and one exploratory meta-analysis were conducted. Our results indicate that the sensory visual cortex is similarly involved in both the encoding and maintenance VSTM phase. We suggest that some cases where evidence did not show significant TMS effects was due to low memory or perceptual task demands. Overall, these findings support the idea that sensory visual areas are part of the brain network responsible for successfully maintaining information in VSTM.

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review