Persistent activity in the prefrontal cortex during working memory

Trends Cogn Sci. 2003 Sep;7(9):415-423. doi: 10.1016/s1364-6613(03)00197-9.


The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a crucial role in working memory. Notably, persistent activity in the DLPFC is often observed during the retention interval of delayed response tasks. The code carried by the persistent activity remains unclear, however. We critically evaluate how well recent findings from functional magnetic resonance imaging studies are compatible with current models of the role of the DLFPC in working memory. These new findings suggest that the DLPFC aids in the maintenance of information by directing attention to internal representations of sensory stimuli and motor plans that are stored in more posterior regions.