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Distribution of cortical activation during visuospatial n-back tasks as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain activation related to 7 Ss' (aged 17-23 yrs) performance of a visuospatial n-back task with different memory loads (0-back, 1-back, and 2-back tasks). Comparison of the 2-back vs 0-back tasks revealed consistent bilateral activation in the medial frontal gyrus (MFG) and the, superior frontal sulcus and adjacent cortical tissue (SFS/SFG) in all Ss and in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) in 6 Ss. Activation was also detected in the inferior frontal gyros, medially in the superior frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, superior and inferior parietal lobuli, occipital visual association areas, anterior and posterior cingulate areas, and the insula. Comparison between the 1-back vs 0-back tasks revealed activation only in a few brain areas. Activation in the MFG, SFS/SFG, and IPS appeared dependent on memory load. Thus, performance of a visuospatial working memory task engages a network of distributed brain areas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)



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