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Poster D9

Inhibitory Control in Working Memory Gate Opening: Insights from Alpha Desynchronization and Norepinephrine Activity Under atDCS Stimulation

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Shijing Yu1 (, Anyla Konjusha1, Tjalf Ziemssen2, Christian Beste1,3; 1Cognitive Neurophysiology, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, TU Dresden, 2Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, TU Dresden, 3Faculty of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan, China

Our everyday activities require the maintenance and continuous updating of information in working memory (WM). To control this dynamic, WM gating mechanisms have been suggested to be in place, but the neurophysiological mechanisms behind these processes are far from being understood. This is especially the case when it comes to the role of oscillatory neural activity. In the current study, we combined EEG recordings, anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (atDCS), and pupil diameter recordings to triangulate neurophysiology, functional neuroanatomy, and neurobiology. The results revealed that atDCS, compared to sham stimulation, affected the WM gate opening mechanism but not the WM gate closing mechanism. The altered behavioral performance was associated with specific changes in alpha band activities (reflected by alpha desynchronization), indicating a role for inhibitory control during WM gate opening. Functionally, the left superior and inferior parietal cortices were associated with these processes. The findings are the first to show the causal relevance of alpha desynchronization processes in WM gating processes. Notably, pupil diameter recordings as an indirect index of the norepinephrine (NE) system activity revealed that individuals with stronger inhibitory control (as indexed through alpha desynchronization) showed less pupil dilation, suggesting they needed less NE activity to support WM gate opening. However, when atDCS was applied, this connection disappeared. The study suggests a close link between inhibitory-controlled WM gating in parietal cortices, alpha band dynamics, and the NE system.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory


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