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The serial-position effect in working memory is considered important for studying how a sequence of sensory information can be retained and manipulated simultaneously in neural memory circuits. Here, via a precise analysis of the primacy and recency effects in human psychophysical experiments, we propose that stable and flexible coding take distinct roles of retaining and updating information in working memory, and that their combination induces serial-position effects spontaneously. We founddoi:10.1101/525220 fatcat:vrzkl5csnncavgdukbz6j4baiy