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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jul 1;64(1):11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 Apr 8.

The cognitive neuroscience of working memory: relevance to CNTRICS and schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Working memory is one of the central constructs in cognitive science and has received enormous attention in the theoretical and empirical literature. Similarly, working memory deficits have long been thought to be among the core cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, making it a ripe area for translation. This article provides a brief overview of the current theories and data on the psychological and neural mechanisms involved in working memory, which is a summary of the presentation and discussion on working memory that occurred at the first Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) meeting (Washington, D.C.). At this meeting, the consensus was that the constructs of goal maintenance and interference control were the most ready to be pursued as part of a translational cognitive neuroscience effort at future CNTRICS meetings. The constructs of long-term memory reactivation, capacity, and strategic encoding were felt to be of great clinical interest but requiring more basic research. In addition, the group felt that the constructs of maintenance over time and updating in working memory had growing construct validity at the psychological and neural levels but required more research in schizophrenia before these should be considered as targets for a clinical trials setting.

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