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refers broadly to a paradigm in which the participant's working memory for spatial characteristics of stimuli is tested, such as the SWM in the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). SWM is a test of the participant’s ability to retain spatial information and to manipulate remembered items in working memory. It is a self-ordered task, which also assesses heuristic strategy. This test is a sensitive measure of frontal lobe and ‘executive’ dysfunction. It has been shown in recent studies that impaired performance on SWM emerges as a common factor in prepsychosis. The test begins with a number of coloured squares (boxes) being shown on the screen. The aim of this test is that, by touching the boxes and using a process of elimination, the participant should find one blue ‘token’ in each of a number of boxes and use them to fill up an empty column on the right hand side of the screen. The number of boxes is gradually increased, until it is necessary to search a total of eight boxes. The colour and position of the boxes used are changed from trial to trial to discourage the use of stereotyped search strategies.
Synonyms: (SWM)
Definition contributed by CTorgerson about five years ago
Member of collection: Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)
No relations have yet been associated.
spatial working memory task has been asserted to measure the following CONCEPTS
as measured by the contrast:

DISORDERS associated with spatial working memory task
No associations have been added.

IMPLEMENTATIONS of spatial working memory task
No implementations have been added.
EXTERNAL DATASETS for spatial working memory task
No external datasets have been added.
No conditions have yet been associated.

Experimental conditions are the subsets of an experiment that define the relevant experimental manipulation.


In the Cognitive Atlas, we define a contrast as any function over experimental conditions. The simplest contrast is the indicator value for a specific condition; more complex contrasts include linear or nonlinear functions of the indicator across different experimental conditions.


An indicator is a specific quantitative or qualitative variable that is recorded for analysis. These may include behavioral variables (such as response time, accuracy, or other measures of performance) or physiological variables (including genetics, psychophysiology, or brain imaging data).

User Discussion

"I'm fairly diffident about the initial definition for this kind of task that I've posted -- feels tautological, but it seems like the only way to get at the disparate stimuli and conditions used"
MLewis (about five years ago)

Term Bibliography
Citation added by CTorgerson about five years ago
Citation Profile

Changes in prefrontal neuronal activity after learning to perform a spatial working memory task.
Qi XL, Meyer T, Stanford TR, Constantinidis C
Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) (Cereb Cortex)
2011 Dec
Citation added by CTorgerson about five years ago
Citation Profile

Dorso- and ventro-lateral prefrontal volume and spatial working memory in schizotypal personality disorder.
Goldstein KE, Hazlett EA, Savage KR, Berlin HA, Hamilton HK, Zelmanova Y, Look AE, Koenigsberg HW, Mitsis EM, Tang CY, McNamara M, Siever LJ, Cohen BH, New AS
Behavioural brain research (Behav Brain Res)
2011 Apr 15
Citation added by CTorgerson about five years ago
Citation Profile

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