Multi-voxel pattern analysis of selective representation of visual working memory in ventral temporal and occipital regions

Neuroimage. 2013 Jun:73:8-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.01.055. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


While previous results from univariate analysis showed that the activity level of the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) but not the fusiform gyrus (FG) reflects selective maintenance of the cued picture category, present results from multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) showed that the spatial response patterns of both regions can be used to differentiate the selected picture category in working memory. The ventral temporal and occipital areas including the PHG and FG have been shown to be specialized in perceiving and processing different kinds of visual information, though their role in the representation of visual working memory remains unclear. To test whether the PHG and FG show spatial response patterns that reflect selective maintenance of task-relevant visual working memory in comparison with other posterior association regions, we reanalyzed data from a previous fMRI study of visual working memory with a cue inserted during the delay period of a delayed recognition task. Classification of FG and PHG activation patterns for the selected category (face or scene) during the cue phase was well above chance using classifiers trained with fMRI data from the cue or probe phase. Classification of activity in other temporal and occipital regions for the cued picture category during the cue phase was relatively less consistent even though classification of their activity during the probe recognition was comparable with the FG and PHG. In sum, these findings suggest that the FG and PHG carry information relevant to the cued visual category, and their spatial activation patterns during selective maintenance seem to match those during visual recognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cues
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Support Vector Machine
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology