Dissociating the neural correlates of intra-item and inter-item working-memory binding
Number of pages
SourcePLoS One, 5, 4, (2010), article e10214
Article / Letter to editor
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Cognitive Neurology and Memory
Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; 130 027 Brain Imaging Genetics - Alzheimer Disease; DCN 1: Perception and Action; DCN 2: Functional Neurogenomics; DCN 3: Neuroinformatics; NCEBP 11: Alzheimer Centre; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness
BACKGROUND: Integration of information streams into a unitary representation is an important task of our cognitive system. Within working memory, the medial temporal lobe (MTL) has been conceptually linked to the maintenance of bound representations. In a previous fMRI study, we have shown that the MTL is indeed more active during working-memory maintenance of spatial associations as compared to non-spatial associations or single items. There are two explanations for this result, the mere presence of the spatial component activates the MTL, or the MTL is recruited to bind associations between neurally non-overlapping representations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The current fMRI study investigates this issue further by directly comparing intrinsic intra-item binding (object/colour), extrinsic intra-item binding (object/location), and inter-item binding (object/object). The three binding conditions resulted in differential activation of brain regions. Specifically, we show that the MTL is important for establishing extrinsic intra-item associations and inter-item associations, in line with the notion that binding of information processed in different brain regions depends on the MTL. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings indicate that different forms of working-memory binding rely on specific neural structures. In addition, these results extend previous reports indicating that the MTL is implicated in working-memory maintenance, challenging the classic distinction between short-term and long-term memory systems.
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