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Content- and task-specific dissociations of frontal activity during maintenance and manipulation in visual working memory

Mohr, Harald M., Goebel, Rainer and Linden, David Edmund Johannes 2006. Content- and task-specific dissociations of frontal activity during maintenance and manipulation in visual working memory. Journal of Neuroscience 26 (17) , pp. 4465-4471. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5232-05.2006

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Working memory, the short-term maintenance and manipulation of information, relies strongly on neural activity in the frontal cortex. Understanding the functional role of this activity is a prerequisite for the understanding of cognitive control mechanisms. Functional imaging studies in human participants have attempted to reveal neural correlates of the subdivision of visual working memory into different processes (maintenance vs manipulation) and according to the type of memorized content. Here, we show, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a content-specific dissociation of frontal activity, with dorsal premotor areas supporting both maintenance and manipulation of spatial features and more ventral areas supporting maintenance and manipulation of color. Manipulation-specific activity was observed in the anterior middle frontal gyrus, the inferior frontal junction, and the inferior parietal lobe bilaterally. These areas have been implicated in cognitive control, and their activation by the manipulation task conforms to the demand on central executive resources in this condition. We suggest that the enhanced demand on cognitive resources in manipulation compared with maintenance was met by interplay of content- and task-specific modules in a frontoparietal network.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: visual; memory; fMRI; spatial; prefrontal; premotor
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 27/02/2014).
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:06

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