Spatial working memory in humans as revealed by PET

Nature. 1993 Jun 17;363(6430):623-5. doi: 10.1038/363623a0.


The concept of working memory is central to theories of human cognition because working memory is essential to such human skills as language comprehension and deductive reasoning. Working memory is thought to be composed of two parts, a set of buffers that temporarily store information in either a phonological or visuospatial form, and a central executive responsible for various computations such as mental arithmetic. Although most data on working memory come from behavioural studies of normal and brain-injured humans, there is evidence about its physiological basis from invasive studies of monkeys. Here we report positron emission tomography (PET) studies of regional cerebral blood flow in normal humans that reveal activation in right-hemisphere prefrontal, occipital, parietal and premotor cortices accompanying spatial working memory processes. These results begin to uncover the circuitry of a working memory system in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed