Poster B40, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Neural oscillations in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortices predict spatial working memory performance
Amy L Proskovec1,2, Alex I Wiesman2, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham2, Tony W Wilson1,2; 1University of Nebraska Omaha, 2University of Nebraska Medical Center
The oscillatory dynamics serving spatial working memory (SWM), and how such dynamics relate to performance, are poorly understood. The goal of this study was to identify the oscillatory dynamics underlying SWM encoding and maintenance processes, and probe the relationship between oscillatory responses and SWM performance. Thus, 22 healthy adults performed a SWM task during magnetoencephalography (MEG). The resulting MEG data were transformed into the time-frequency domain, and significant oscillatory responses were imaged using a beamformer. To quantify the dynamics, voxel time series data were extracted from the cluster peaks. Additionally, whole-brain partial correlation maps using the beamformer output images and accuracy on the SWM task were computed. The results indicated transient theta oscillations in spatially distinct subregions of the prefrontal cortices at the onset of encoding and maintenance, as well as strong and sustained decreases in alpha and beta throughout most of encoding and maintenance in parietal, temporal, and occipital regions. The neuro-behavioral correlations suggested that beta oscillations within the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and bilateral superior temporal gyri was negatively correlated with SWM accuracy. We propose that the prefrontal theta oscillations may play a role in the selection and integration of goal-relevant information, while the posterior alpha and beta oscillations may serve sustained attention and maintenance processes during SWM performance. Notably, this is the first study to significantly link neural oscillations to behavioral performance in the context of SWM, and our results indicated that superior temporal integration and prefrontal central executive control regions may be critical to SWM performance.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory