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Trends Cogn Sci. 2012 Feb;16(2):129-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.11.014. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Top-down modulation: bridging selective attention and working memory.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. adam.gazzaley@ucsf.edu

Abstract

Selective attention, the ability to focus our cognitive resources on information relevant to our goals, influences working memory (WM) performance. Indeed, attention and working memory are increasingly viewed as overlapping constructs. Here, we review recent evidence from human neurophysiological studies demonstrating that top-down modulation serves as a common neural mechanism underlying these two cognitive operations. The core features include activity modulation in stimulus-selective sensory cortices with concurrent engagement of prefrontal and parietal control regions that function as sources of top-down signals. Notably, top-down modulation is engaged during both stimulus-present and stimulus-absent stages of WM tasks; that is, expectation of an ensuing stimulus to be remembered, selection and encoding of stimuli, maintenance of relevant information in mind and memory retrieval.

PMID:
22209601
PMCID:
PMC3510782
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2011.11.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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