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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 11;104(37):14837-42. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Dissociable roles of the posterior parietal and the prefrontal cortex in manipulation and monitoring processes.

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  • 1Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2B4.


Numerous functional neuroimaging studies reported increased activity in the middorsolateral prefrontal cortex (MDLFC) and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) during the performance of working memory tasks. However, the role of the PPC in working memory is not understood and, although there is strong evidence that the MDLFC is involved in the monitoring of information in working memory, it is also often stated that it is involved in the manipulation of such information. This event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study compared brain activity during the performance of working memory trials in which either monitoring or manipulation of information was required. The results show that the PPC is centrally involved in manipulation processes, whereas activation of the MDLFC is related to the monitoring of the information that is being manipulated. This study provides dissociation of activation in these two regions and, thus, succeeds in further specifying their relative contribution to working memory.

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