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Comparison of Neural Activity Related to Working Memory in Primate Dorsolateral Prefrontal and Posterior Parietal Cortex

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      Abstract

      Neurons in a distributed network of cortical and subcortical areas continue to discharge after the presentation and disappearance of stimuli, providing a neural correlate for working memory. While it is thought that the prefrontal cortex plays a central role in this network, the relative contributions of other brain areas are not as well understood. In order to compare the contributions of the dorsolateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex, we recorded neurophysiological activity in monkeys trained to perform two different visuo-spatial working memory tasks: a Match/Nonmatch task, and a Spatial Delayed-Match-to-Sample Task. Neurons in both areas exhibited discharges in the delay periods of the tasks that could be classified in two forms. Sustained discharges persisted after the presentation of a stimulus in the receptive field with a constant or declining rate. Anticipatory responses increased in rate during the delay period, often appearing after presentation of a stimulus out of the receptive field. Despite similarities, we uncovered distinct differences between patterns of delay period in each brain area. Only in the prefrontal cortex sustained responses related to the original stimulus survived presentation of a second stimulus, in the context of the Match/Nonmatch task. Our results provide insights on the nature of processing in two areas active during working memory, and on the unique role of the prefrontal cortex in memory maintenance.

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      Most cited references 40

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      The Psychophysics Toolbox.

      The Psychophysics Toolbox is a software package that supports visual psychophysics. Its routines provide an interface between a high-level interpreted language (MATLAB on the Macintosh) and the video display hardware. A set of example programs is included with the Toolbox distribution.
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        The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: transforming numbers into movies.

        The VideoToolbox is a free collection of two hundred C subroutines for Macintosh computers that calibrates and controls the computer-display interface to create accurately specified visual stimuli. High-level platform-independent languages like MATLAB are best for creating the numbers that describe the desired images. Low-level, computer-specific VideoToolbox routines control the hardware that transforms those numbers into a movie. Transcending the particular computer and language, we discuss the nature of the computer-display interface, and how to calibrate and control it.
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          Cellular basis of working memory

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1simpleDepartment of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine Winston-Salem, NC, USA
            Author notes

            Edited by: Steven S. Hsiao, Johns Hopkins University, USA

            Reviewed by: Veit Stuphorn, Johns Hopkins University, USA; Mathew Chafee, University of Minnesota, USA

            *Correspondence: Christos Constantinidis, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1010, USA. e-mail: cconstan@ 123456wfubmc.edu
            Journal
            Front Syst Neurosci
            Front. Syst. Neurosci.
            Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
            Frontiers Research Foundation
            1662-5137
            10 March 2010
            14 May 2010
            2010
            : 4
            2876875
            20514341
            10.3389/fnsys.2010.00012
            Copyright © 2010 Qi, Katsuki, Meyer, Rawley, Zhou, Douglas and Constantinidis.

            This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

            Counts
            Figures: 11, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 40, Pages: 11, Words: 7363
            Categories
            Neuroscience
            Original Research

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