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Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(7):1185-94. Epub 2005 Nov 21.

Brain areas involved in spatial working memory.

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Psychological Laboratory, Helmholtz Instituut, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, NL-3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Spatial working memory entails the ability to keep spatial information active in working memory over a short period of time. To study the areas of the brain that are involved in spatial working memory, a group of stroke patients was tested with a spatial search task. Patients and healthy controls were asked to search through a number of boxes shown at different locations on a touch-sensitive computer screen in order to find a target object. In subsequent trials, new target objects were hidden in boxes that were previously empty. Within-search errors were made if a participant returned to an already searched box; between-search errors occurred if a participant returned to a box that was already known to contain a target item. The use of a strategy to remember the locations of the target objects was calculated as well. Damage to the right posterior parietal and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex impaired the ability to keep spatial information 'on-line', as was indicated by performance on the Corsi Block-Tapping task and the within-search errors. Moreover, patients with damage to the right posterior parietal cortex, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the hippocampal formation bilaterally made more between-search errors, indicating the importance of these areas in maintaining spatial information in working memory over an extended time period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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