Article

Prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia control access to working memory

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Stockholm Brain Institute, Karolinska Institutet, MR Centrum, Stockholm, Sweden.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 14.98). 02/2008; 11(1):103-7. DOI: 10.1038/nn2024
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Our capacity to store information in working memory might be determined by the degree to which only relevant information is remembered. The question remains as to how this selection of relevant items to be remembered is accomplished. Here we show that activity in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia preceded the filtering of irrelevant information and that activity, particularly in the globus pallidus, predicted the extent to which only relevant information is stored. The preceding frontal and basal ganglia activity were also associated with inter-individual differences in working memory capacity. These findings reveal a mechanism by which frontal and basal ganglia activity exerts attentional control over access to working memory storage in the parietal cortex in humans, and makes an important contribution to inter-individual differences in working memory capacity.

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Available from: Torkel Klingberg, Jul 08, 2015
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    • "Specifically, the n-back task is correlated with short-term memory span and less correlated with working memory capacity (Roberts & Gibson, 2002). Moreover, the working memory span task is known to recruit executive control evidenced by the greater involvement of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Burgess, Gray, Conway, & Braver, 2011; Chein, Moore, & Conway, 2011; McNab & Klingberg, 2008; Osaka et al., 2003), whereas the n-back reveals higher involvement of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex only when there are high levels of interference (Fales et al., 2008). Thus, with less demand placed on executive control by the n-back task, it may allow for any direct influence emotion has on working memory domains to be observed. "
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    • "Specifically, the n-back task is correlated with short-term memory span and less correlated with working memory capacity (Roberts & Gibson, 2002). Moreover, the working memory span task is known to recruit executive control evidenced by the greater involvement of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Burgess, Gray, Conway, & Braver, 2011; Chein, Moore, & Conway, 2011; McNab & Klingberg, 2008; Osaka et al., 2003), whereas the n-back reveals higher involvement of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex only when there are high levels of interference (Fales et al., 2008). Thus, with less demand placed on executive control by the n-back task, it may allow for any direct influence emotion has on working memory domains to be observed. "
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    • "The PFC has been shown to control accesses to WM [45] [46] and can then guarantee the quantity of task-relevant items in WM. "
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