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      EEG and Autonomic Responses During Performance of Matching and Non-Matching to Sample Working Memory Tasks with Emotional Content

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          Working memory (WM) is a memory system responsible for the temporary storage of information and its utilization in problem solving. The central executive is theorized as the controller of storage functions that support WM. Neurophysiological data suggest that electroencephalographic (EEG) theta and alpha oscillations in frontal and midline regions are involved in neural communication between the central executive and storage functions during WM performance. Emotion is known to modulate several memory systems, including WM, through central and peripheral pathways. However, the physiological effect (EEG; autonomic nervous activity) of emotion over WM are not well described. In this study we aimed to identify physiological responses related to emotional WM performance. EEG (21 channels), heart rate (HR), and galvanic skin response (GSR) recordings were obtained from 54 volunteers while performing delayed matching and non-matching to sample tasks (DMTS/DNMTS). Emotional and neutral pictures from the International Affective Picture System and geometric figures were used as stimuli. As expected, WM performance was accompanied by presence of theta (frontal and midline electrodes) and alpha power (parietal electrodes). Beta and gamma oscillations were concentrated in frontopolar and left temporal regions. The DNMTS task was accompanied by higher increases in beta power, HR, and GSR compared to the DMTS task. Correlation analyses showed a positive tendency for gamma in the Fp2 site, ratio of LF/HF and skin conductance in both tasks. The HR results indicate an inverse reaction related to parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system during the performance of the tasks. Taken together, our results contribute to elucidate the complex interactions between central and autonomic nervous systems in the modulation of emotional WM tasks.

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          Most cited references 70

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          The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory

           R.C. Oldfield (1971)
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            EEGLAB: an open source toolbox for analysis of single-trial EEG dynamics including independent component analysis.

            We have developed a toolbox and graphic user interface, EEGLAB, running under the crossplatform MATLAB environment (The Mathworks, Inc.) for processing collections of single-trial and/or averaged EEG data of any number of channels. Available functions include EEG data, channel and event information importing, data visualization (scrolling, scalp map and dipole model plotting, plus multi-trial ERP-image plots), preprocessing (including artifact rejection, filtering, epoch selection, and averaging), independent component analysis (ICA) and time/frequency decompositions including channel and component cross-coherence supported by bootstrap statistical methods based on data resampling. EEGLAB functions are organized into three layers. Top-layer functions allow users to interact with the data through the graphic interface without needing to use MATLAB syntax. Menu options allow users to tune the behavior of EEGLAB to available memory. Middle-layer functions allow users to customize data processing using command history and interactive 'pop' functions. Experienced MATLAB users can use EEGLAB data structures and stand-alone signal processing functions to write custom and/or batch analysis scripts. Extensive function help and tutorial information are included. A 'plug-in' facility allows easy incorporation of new EEG modules into the main menu. EEGLAB is freely available ( under the GNU public license for noncommercial use and open source development, together with sample data, user tutorial and extensive documentation.
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              The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory?

               Alan Baddeley (2000)
              In 1974, Baddeley and Hitch proposed a three-component model of working memory. Over the years, this has been successful in giving an integrated account not only of data from normal adults, but also neuropsychological, developmental and neuroimaging data. There are, however, a number of phenomena that are not readily captured by the original model. These are outlined here and a fourth component to the model, the episodic buffer, is proposed. It comprises a limited capacity system that provides temporary storage of information held in a multimodal code, which is capable of binding information from the subsidiary systems, and from long-term memory, into a unitary episodic representation. Conscious awareness is assumed to be the principal mode of retrieval from the buffer. The revised model differs from the old principally in focussing attention on the processes of integrating information, rather than on the isolation of the subsystems. In doing so, it provides a better basis for tackling the more complex aspects of executive control in working memory.

                Author and article information

                Front Behav Neurosci
                Front. Behav. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                21 December 2011
                : 5
                1simpleLaboratory of Neurosciences and Behavior, Department of Physiological Sciences, Institute of Biology, University of Brasília Brasilia, Brazil
                Author notes

                Edited by: Antonella Gasbarri, University of L’Aquila, Italy

                Reviewed by: Christa McIntyre, University of Texas, USA; Viviana Trezza, University Roma Tre, Italy; Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

                *Correspondence: Ana Garcia, Laboratory of Neuroscience and Behavior, Department of Physiological Sciences, Institute of Biology, University of Brasília, Brasilia, Brazil. e-mail: anacog@
                Copyright © 2011 Garcia, Uribe, Tavares and Tomaz.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 72, Pages: 9, Words: 7344
                Original Research


                galvanic skin response, emotion, heart rate, brain dynamics


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