Somatosensory working memory performance depends on both engagement and disengagement of regions in a distributed network
SourceHuman Brain Mapping, 31, (2010), pp. 26-35
Article / Letter to editor
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Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
PI Group MR Techniques in Brain Function
PI Group Neuronal Oscillations
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Human Brain Mapping
Subject160 000 Neuronal Oscillations; 160 006 Oscillations and cognitive functions
Successful working memory (WM) requires the engagement of relevant brain areas but possibly also the disengagement of irrelevant areas. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to elucidate the temporal dynamics of areas involved in a somatosensory WM task. We found an increase in gamma band activity in the primary and secondary somatosensory areas during encoding and retention, respectively. This was accompanied by an increase of alpha band activity over task-irrelevant regions including posterior and ipsilateral somatosensory cortex. Importantly, the alpha band increase was strongest during successful WM performance. Furthermore, we found frontal gamma band activity that correlated both with behavioral performance and the alpha band increase. We suggest that somatosensory gamma band activity reflects maintenance and attention-related components of WM operations, whereas alpha band activity reflects frontally controlled disengagement of task-irrelevant regions. Our results demonstrate that resource allocation involving the engagement of task-relevant and disengagement of task-irrelevant regions is needed for optimal task execution. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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