Goal-dependent dissociation of visual and prefrontal cortices during working memory

Nat Neurosci. 2013 Aug;16(8):997-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3452. Epub 2013 Jun 30.


To determine the specific contribution of brain regions to working memory, human participants performed two distinct tasks on the same visually presented objects. During the maintenance of visual properties, object identity could be decoded from extrastriate, but not prefrontal, cortex, whereas the opposite held for nonvisual properties. Thus, the ability to maintain information during working memory is a general and flexible cortical property, with the role of individual regions being goal-dependent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Young Adult