Dotson NM, Salazar RF, Gray CM (2014). Fronto-parietal correlation dynamics reveal interplay between integration and segregation during visual working memory. J Neuroscience, 34(41):13600-13.

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Abstract

Working memory requires large-scale cooperation among widespread cortical and subcortical brain regions. Importantly, these processes must achieve an appropriate balance between functional integration and segregation, which are thought to be mediated by task-dependent spatiotemporal patterns of correlated activity. Here, we used cross-correlation analysis to estimate the incidence, magnitude, and relative phase angle of temporally correlated activity from simultaneous local field potential recordings in a network of prefrontal and posterior parietal cortical areas in monkeys performing an oculomotor, delayed match-to-sample task. We found long-range intraparietal and frontoparietal correlations that display a bimodal distribution of relative phase values, centered near 0° and 180°, suggesting a possible basis for functional segregation among distributed networks. Both short- and long-range correlations display striking task-dependent transitions in strength and relative phase, indicating that cognitive events are accompanied by robust changes in the pattern of temporal coordination across the frontoparietal network.

Salazar RF, Dotson NM, Bressler SL, Gray CM (2012). Content specific fronto-parietal synchronization during visual working memory. Science, 338:1097-1100.

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Abstract

Lateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortical areas exhibit task-dependent activation during working memory tasks in humans and monkeys. Neurons in these regions become synchronized during attention-demanding tasks, but the contribution of these interactions to working memory is largely unknown. Using simultaneous recordings of neural activity from multiple areas in both regions, we find widespread, task-dependent, and content-specific synchronization of activity across the fronto-parietal network during visual working memory. The patterns of synchronization are prevalent among stimulus-selective neurons and are governed by influences arising in parietal cortex. These results indicate that short-term memories are represented by large-scale patterns of synchronized activity across the fronto-parietal network.

Tanoue RT, Berryhill ME (2012). The mental wormhole: Internal attention shifts without regard for distance. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 74, 6, 1199-1215. [ DOI: 10.3758/s1341401203050. ]

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Abstract

Attention operates perceptually on items in the environment, and internally on objects in visuospatial working memory. In the present study, we investigated whether spatial and temporal constraints affecting endogenous perceptual attention extend to internal attention. A retro-cue paradigm in which a cue is presented beyond the range of iconic memory and after stimulus encoding was used to manipulate shifts of internal attention. Participants' memories were tested for colored circles (Experiments 1, 2, 3a, 4) or for novel shapes (Experiment 3b) and their locations within an array. In these experiments, the time to shift internal attention (Experiments 1 and 3) and the eccentricity of encoded objects (Experiments 2-4) were manipulated. Our data showed that, unlike endogenous perceptual attention, internal shifts of attention are not modulated by stimulus eccentricity. Across several timing parameters and stimuli, we found that shifts of internal attention require a minimum quantal amount of time regardless of the object eccentricity at encoding. Our findings are consistent with the view that internal attention operates on objects whose spatial information is represented in relative terms. Although endogenous perceptual attention abides by the laws of space and time, internal attention can shift across spatial representations without regard for physical distance.