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The neural bases of the effects of item-nonspecific proactive interference in working memory.

Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience

Retrospective Studies, Reference Values, physiology, Reaction Time, Proactive Inhibition, Prefrontal Cortex, Mental Processes, Memory, Short-Term, Male, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Humans, Frontal Lobe, Female, Brain Mapping, Attention, Analysis of Variance, Adult

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      We reanalyzed the behavioral and fMRI data from seven previously published studies of working memory in order to assess the behavioral and neural effects of item-nonspecific proactive interference (PI; attributable to the accrual of antecedent information independent of the repetition of particular items). We hypothesized that item-nonspecific PI, implicated in age-related declines in working memory performance, is mediated by the same mechanism(s) that mediate item-specific PI (occurring when an invalid memory probe matches a memorandum from the previous trial). Reaction time increased across trials as a function of position within the block, a trend that reversed across the duration of each multiblock experiment. The fMRI analyses revealed sensitivity to item-nonspecific PI during the probe epoch in the left anterior inferior frontal gyrus and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex(PFC). They also revealed a negative trend, across trials, in the transient probe-evoked component of the global signal. A common PFC-based mechanism may mediate many forms of PI.

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