Differential effects of distraction during working memory on delay-period activity in the prefrontal cortex and the visual association cortex

Jong H. Yoon, Clayton E. Curtis, Mark D'Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Maintaining relevant information for later use is a critical aspect of working memory (WM). The lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and posterior sensory cortical areas appear to be important in supporting maintenance. However, the relative and unique contributions of these areas remain unclear. We have designed a WM paradigm with distraction to probe the contents of maintenance representations in these regions. During delayed recognition trials of faces, selective interference was evident behaviorally with face distraction leading to significantly worse performance than with scene distraction. Event-related fMRI of the human brain showed that maintenance activity in the lateral PFC, but not in visual association cortex (VAC), was selectively disrupted by face distraction. Additionally, the functional connectivity between the lateral PFC and the VAC was perturbed during these trials. We propose a hierarchical and distributed model of active maintenance in which the lateral PFC codes for abstracted mnemonic information, while sensory areas represent specific features of the memoranda. Furthermore, persistent coactivation between the PFC and sensory areas may be a mechanism by which information is actively maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1126
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006

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Visual Cortex
Prefrontal Cortex
Short-Term Memory
Maintenance
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Brain

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Event-related fMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Visual association cortex
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Cite this

Differential effects of distraction during working memory on delay-period activity in the prefrontal cortex and the visual association cortex. / Yoon, Jong H.; Curtis, Clayton E.; D'Esposito, Mark.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 29, No. 4, 15.02.2006, p. 1117-1126.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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