Common and distinct neural correlates of perceptual and memorial selection

Neuroimage. 2009 Apr 15;45(3):963-75. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.01.005.


A critical aspect of cognitive control is the ability to select goal-relevant information in the face of competing distraction. A popular account is that common top-down selection processes underlie the ability to select among competing percepts and memories. We test the degree to which selective attention and memorial selection recruit the same neural resources. We demonstrate that both functions elicit largely overlapping networks within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), frontal eye fields (FEF), premotor cortex, and superior parietal lobule (SPL). Despite the close commonalities of selective attention and memorial selection, our results demonstrate that the SPL and FEF show preferential involvement in selective attention, whereas left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) is uniquely associated with memorial selection. Thus, the two sorts of selection are not identical. We show further that variations in shared selection circuits are associated with differences in behavioral performance, suggesting that economy of control is beneficial to performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Perception / physiology*