Attention fMRI Memory Papers

New paper in Neu­roIm­age, Lim et al.

Atten­tion lets us focus our lim­it­ed cog­ni­tive resources on behav­ioral­ly impor­tant infor­ma­tion. Less obvi­ous is that atten­tion also helps us to hold infor­ma­tion in mem­o­ry with high pre­ci­sion. But how does the brain imple­ment this direct­ed atten­tion to mem­o­ry, and what behav­iour­al ben­e­fits does it yield for us humans?

For­mer post­doc Sung-Joo Lim (now at Bing­ham­ton Uni­ver­si­ty), Jonas Obleser, and a team of col­lab­o­ra­tors from Old­en­burg (Chris­tiane Thiel) and Leipzig (Bern­hard Sehm, Lorenz Deser­no, and Jöran Lep­sien) have now a new arti­cle on this old prob­lem, to appear in NeuroImage.

Using the changes in brain blood oxy­gena­tion as mea­sured with fMRI, this study demon­strates that atten­tion enables mem­o­ry main­te­nance of speech sound infor­ma­tion across mul­ti­ple brain regions. A speech-sen­si­tive brain region in the tem­po­ral lobe (the left supe­ri­or tem­po­ral sul­cus) con­tributes the most in pre­dict­ing the indi­vid­ual gain in recall pre­ci­sion of audi­to­ry objects from mem­o­ry. This study high­lights that func­tion­al­ly dis­crete brain regions work togeth­er in main­tain­ing and atten­tion­al­ly enhanc­ing work­ing mem­o­ry infor­ma­tion, but they exert dif­ferental influ­ences depend­ing on their func­tion­al specializations.

The full arti­cle is now avail­able here.