Content-Specific Codes of Parametric Vibrotactile Working Memory in Humans

Autor(en): Schmidt, Timo Torsten
Wu, Yuan-hao
Blankenburg, Felix
Stichwörter: BRAIN; DECISION-MAKING; DISCRIMINATION; INFORMATION; MENTAL IMAGES; mental representation; Neurosciences; Neurosciences & Neurology; PERCEPTUAL DECISION; PREFRONTAL CORTEX; REPRESENTATIONS; SHORT-TERM-MEMORY; SOMATOSENSORY CORTEX; support vector regression; vibrotactile; working memory
Erscheinungsdatum: 2017
Herausgeber: SOC NEUROSCIENCE
Journal: JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
Volumen: 37
Ausgabe: 40
Startseite: 9771
Seitenende: 9777
Zusammenfassung: 
To understand how the brain handles mentally represented information flexibly in the absence of sensory stimulation, working memory (WM) studies have been essential. A seminal finding in monkey research is that neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) retain stimulus-specific information when vibrotactile frequencies were memorized. A direct mapping between monkey studies and human research is still controversial. Although oscillatory signatures, in terms of frequency-dependent parametric beta-band modulation, have been observed recently in human EEG studies, the content specificity of these representations in terms of multivariate pattern analysis has not yet been shown. Here, we used fMRI in combination with multivariate classification techniques to determine which brain regions retain information during WM. In a retro-cue delayed-match-to-sample task, human subjects memorized the frequency of vibrotactile stimulation over a 12 s delay phase. Using an assumption-free whole-brain searchlight approach, we tested with support vector regression which brain regions exhibited multivariate parametric WM codes of the maintained frequencies during the WM delay. Interestingly, our analysis revealed an overlap with regions previously identified in monkeys composed of bilateral premotor cortices, supplementary motor area, and the right inferior frontal gyrus as part of the PFC. Therefore, our results establish a link between the WM codes found in monkeys and those in humans and emphasize the importance of the PFC for information maintenance during WM also in humans.
ISSN: 02706474
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1167-17.2017

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