Prefrontal cortex fMRI signal changes are correlated with working memory load

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Abstract

WE investigated whether a nonspatial working memory (WM) task would activate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and whether activation would be correlated with WM load. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we measured regional brain signal changes in 12 normal subjects performing a continuous performance, choice reaction time task that requires WM. A high WM load condition was compared with a non-WM choice reaction time control condition (WM effect) and a low WM load condition (load effect). Significant changes in signal intensity occurred in the DLPFC, frontal motor regions and the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) in both comparisons. These findings support the role of DLPFC and IPS in WM and suggest that signal changes in DLPFC correlate with WM load.

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