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      The role of prefrontal cortex in working-memory capacity, executive attention, and general fluid intelligence: An individual-differences perspective

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      Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          We provide an "executive-attention" framework for organizing the cognitive neuroscience research on the constructs of working-memory capacity (WMC), general fluid intelligence, and prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. Rather than provide a novel theory of PFC function, we synthesize a wealth of single-cell, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological research through the lens of our theory of normal individual differences in WMC and attention control (Engle, Kane, & Tuholski, 1999; Engle, Tuholski, Laughlin, & Conway, 1999). Our critical review confirms the prevalent view that dorsolateral PFC circuitry is critical to executive-attention functions. Moreover, although the dorsolateral PFC is but one critical structure in a network of anterior and posterior "attention control" areas, it does have a unique executive-attention role in actively maintaining access to stimulus representations and goals in interference-rich contexts. Our review suggests the utility of an executive-attention framework for guiding future research on both PFC function and cognitive control.

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          Most cited references 388

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          The attention system of the human brain.

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            Working memory, short-term memory, and general fluid intelligence: a latent-variable approach.

            A study was conducted in which 133 participants performed 11 memory tasks (some thought to reflect working memory and some thought to reflect short-term memory), 2 tests of general fluid intelligence, and the Verbal and Quantitative Scholastic Aptitude Tests. Structural equation modeling suggested that short-term and working memories reflect separate but highly related constructs and that many of the tasks used in the literature as working memory tasks reflect a common construct. Working memory shows a strong connection to fluid intelligence, but short-term memory does not. A theory of working memory capacity and general fluid intelligence is proposed: The authors argue that working memory capacity and fluid intelligence reflect the ability to keep a representation active, particularly in the face of interference and distraction. The authors also discuss the relationship of this capability to controlled attention, and the functions of the prefrontal cortex.
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              Cellular basis of working memory

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
                Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1069-9384
                1531-5320
                December 2002
                December 2002
                : 9
                : 4
                : 637-671
                Article
                10.3758/BF03196323
                12613671
                © 2002

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