The effects of working memory demands on the neural correlates of prospective memory

Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(2):197-207. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.05.003. Epub 2005 Jun 3.

Abstract

Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were used to examine the reciprocal costs of working and prospective memory loads on the neural correlates of the realization of delayed intentions and the detection of target stimuli. The electrophysiological data revealed several interesting results: (1) distinct modulations of the ERPs were elicited by working memory targets and prospective memory cues, (2) working memory load modulated the amplitude of the N300 elicited by prospective memory cues, (3) prospective memory load was associated with a broadly distributed sustained modulation that began shortly after stimulus onset, and (4) brain-behavior correlations between the neural correlates of prospective memory and working memory varied with the working memory demands of the ongoing activity. These findings appear to indicate that attentional processes associated with the detection of prospective memory cues are sensitive to the working memory demands of the ongoing activity and that different processes may support prospective memory depending on the working memory demands of the ongoing activity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors