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Neuroimage. 2007 Aug 1;37(1):311-22. Epub 2007 May 8.

Working memory effects on semantic processing: priming differences in pars orbitalis.

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1
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. fsabb@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

Both working memory (WM) and controlled (attention-mediated) semantic processing functions have been thought to operate as limited capacity systems, but the possible link between these processes has not been investigated. We found that increased WM load attenuated semantic priming (i.e., reduced the response time advantage for semantically primed relative to unprimed items) and changed fMRI signal intensities in brain regions usually associated with both WM (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and controlled semantic retrieval (inferior frontal gyrus [IFG], pars orbitalis). fMRI signal changes in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were negatively correlated with signal changes in pars orbitalis. The findings suggest that controlled semantic processing and working memory share neural system resources.

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