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Publication Detail
Neural generators of sustained activity differ for stimulus-encoding and delay maintenance
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Malecki U, Stallforth S, Heipertz D, Lavie N, Duzel E
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    924, 933
  • Journal:
    European Journal of Neuroscience
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
The ability to maintain information online beyond sensory stimulation is regarded as a key contribution of working memory to goal-directed behavior. It is widely accepted that sustained neural activity is a key mechanism of stimulus maintenance, but it is unclear to what extent the neural generators of sustained activity change from stimulus-encoding to maintenance. Using event-related potentials (ERP) in humans, we show that, in a delayed match-to-sample task, slow-shifts over parieto-occipital electrode sites had a different topography and polarity during encoding and delay-maintenance of images depicting scenes. This clearly demonstrates that neural generators of sustained activity associated with stimulus-encoding and delay maintenance differed and that the change between these generators occurred time-locked to the onset of the delay period. We also investigated how monetary reward incentives modulated the amplitude and topography of sustained delay activity and the ability to suppress irrelevant distracting information during the delay. Reward incentives improved maintenance performance and this was correlated with an expansion of the parieto-occipital electrode sites that were entrained into sustained delay activity (rather than improved distractor suppression), suggesting that under the influence of reward, the parieto-occipital regions that contributed to delay maintenance expanded in size.
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