Studies of subhuman primates and man have shown that the prefrontal cortex is important for spatial working memory. We have used 18fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18FDG-PET) to study a non-spatial, abstract visual memory task of in man. Using a regions-of-interest approach with discriminant analysis of the relative regional cerebral metabolic rate of glucose consumption (rCMRGlc), we found that changes in dorsal prefrontal, premotor/motor frontal and posterior cingulate areas differentiated the primary memory task from the control task. Less robust increases in glucose uptake were observed in lateral parietal cortex, while some subcortical and limbic regions showed decreases. This is the first activation study with a non-spatial, visual task. These results complement previous studies in that they substantiate the role of the prefrontal cortex in the mediation of cross-temporal contingencies of behavior, and point to a role of the premotor region in this mediation as well.