Neural correlates of variable working memory load across adult age and skill: dissociative patterns within the fronto-parietal network
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 50, no 1, 41-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We examined neural changes related to variations in working memory load by using an n-back task with three levels and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Younger adults were divided into high- and low-performing groups (Young-High; Young-Low) and compared with older adults. Relative to Young-High, capacity-constraints in working memory were apparent between load 1-2 for the elderly and between load 2-3 for Young-Low. Capacity-constraints in neural activity followed this pattern by showing a monotonically increasing response in parietal cortex and thalamus for Young-High, whereas activity leveled off at 1-back for the elderly and at 2-back for Young-Low. The response in dorsal frontal cortex followed a similar pattern with the addition that the magnitude of activation differed within capacity limitations (Old > Young at 1-back; Young-Low > Young-High at 2-back). These findings indicate that an important determinant of WM capacity is the ability to keep the frontal cortex adequately engaged in relation to current task demands.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons Inc. , 2009. Vol. 50, no 1, 41-46 p.
fMRI, working memory load, capacity-constraints
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject Medicine
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-32023DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2008.00678.xPubMedID: 18705668OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-32023DiVA: diva2:300521