The frontoparietal multiple demand network interacts with the dual pathways in auditory working memory

Cereb Cortex. 2023 May 24;33(11):7276-7287. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhad037.


The frontoparietal multiple demand (MD) network has been proposed as a control network that regulates processing demands while enabling goal-directed actions. This study tested the MD network account in auditory working memory (AWM) and identified its functional role and relationship with the dual pathways model in AWM, where segregation of function was based on the sound domain. Forty-one healthy young adults performed an n-back task consisting of an orthogonal combination of the sound domain (spatial versus nonspatial) and cognitive operation (low load versus high load). Functional connectivity and correlation analyses were performed to assess the connectivity of the MD network and the dual pathways. Our results confirmed the contribution of the MD network to AWM and identified its interactions with the dual pathways in both sound domains and during high and low load levels. At high loads, the strength of connectivity with the MD network correlated with task accuracy, indicating the key role of the MD network in supporting successful performance as cognitive load increases. This study contributed to the auditory literature by showing that both the MD network and dual pathways collaborate with each other to support AWM, and neither of them alone is adequate to explain auditory cognition.

Keywords: auditory working memory; brain–behavioral relationship; dual pathways; frontoparietal multiple demand network; functional connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory, Short-Term* / physiology
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Young Adult