Yoav Kessler

Dr. Yoav Kessler

Research Focus

My research involves 2 core executive functions: working memory updating and task switching.

The ability to update the content of working memory rapidly and accurately is crucial for many high level cognitive tasks. However, the nature of working memory (WM) updating process and its underlying brain mechanisms are still poorly understood. In my PhD work, I examined the component processes of WM updating of verbal material, using behavioral paradigms. This work had two parts. The first part showed that the WM updating process acts upon all the information available in WM, including the information that is not modified. This finding has theoretical implications regarding the unitary nature of WM representations. Although the major stream in the literature regards WM as composed of separate representations, I claim they are bound together to a higher-level global representation, and that this kind of binding is carried out in updating situations. This global structure can be the basis for creating a new episodic memory. The second part of this work showed the co-existence of 2 dissociable WM updating processes: a global process (as shown in the first part), and an item-specific local process, limited to the modified information only, which is presumably related to the flexible nature of WM representation. My present studies in this field look at the neural correlates of the above component processes of WM updating, and in their role in creating new memories.

In addition to WM updating, I am interested in cognitive control, and I use the task switching paradigm for its study. The basic question in these projects is how people adapt their behavior to internal or external constraints. My studies in this area look at the relations between WM and task switching, and at the potential psychological benefits of task switching.


Title Source (Journal/Book/Conference) Authors/Presenters Published On Type
Divided attention improves delayed, but not immediate retrieval of a consolidated memory PLoS Kessler Y, Vandermorris S, Gopie N, Daros A, Winocur G, Moscovitch M 1394856000 Journal Article
Strategic processing in long-term repetition priming in the lexical decision task Memory Kessler Y, Moscovitch M 1383714000 Journal Article
Imagined positive emotions and inhibitory control: The differentiated effect of pride versus happiness Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,Memory, and Cognition Katzir M, Eyal T, Meiran N, Kessler Y 1268024400 Journal Article
The reaction-time task-rule congruency effect is not affected by working memory load: Further support for the activated long-term memory hypothesis Psychological Research Kessler Y, Meiran N 1255060800 Journal Article
Choosing to switch: Spontaneous task switching despite associated behavioral costs Acta Psychologica Kessler Y, Shencar Y, Meiran N 1237348800 Journal Article
Two dissociable updating processes in working memory Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition Kessler Y, Meiran N 1227330000 Journal Article
The task rule congruency effect in task switching reflects activated long-term memory Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Meiran N, Kessler Y 1224648000 Journal Article
The mental representation of music notation: Notational audiation Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Brodsky W, Kessler Y, Rubinstein BS, Ginsborg J, Henik A 1224648000 Journal Article
Control by action representation and input selection (CARIS): a theoretical framework for task switching Psychological Research Meiran N, Kessler Y, Adi-Japha E 1206158400 Journal Article
Task switching after cerebellar damage Neuropsychology Berger A, Sadeh M, Tzur G, Shuper A, Kornreich L, Inbar D, Cohen IJ, Michowiz Sh, Yaniv I, Constantini S, Kessler Y, Meiran N 1161489600 Journal Article
All updateable objects in working memory are updated whenever any of them are modified: evidence from the memory updating paradigm Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition Kessler Y, Meiran N 1161489600 Journal Article
Event-based prospective memory for poorly attended events Experimental Psychology Cohen-Servi A, Meiran N, Kessler Y 1161489600 Journal Article


The Rotman Research Institute
3560 Bathurst Street, 924
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M6A 2E1 Phone: 416-785-2500 x3069 Email: ykessler@rotman-baycrest.on.ca Fax: 416-785-2862