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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

August 15, 2003, Vol. 15, No. 6, Pages 771-784
(doi: 10.1162/089892903322370708)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dissecting Contributions of Prefrontal Cortex and Fusiform Face Area to Face Working Memory
Article PDF (912.61 KB)

Interactions between prefrontal cortex (PFC) and stimulusspecific visual cortical association areas are hypothesized to mediate visual working memory in behaving monkeys. To clarify the roles for homologous regions in humans, event-related fMRI was used to assess neural activity in PFC and fusiform face area (FFA) of subjects performing a delay-recognition task for faces. In both PFC and FFA, activity increased parametrically with memory load during encoding and maintenance of face stimuli, despite quantitative differences in the magnitude of activation. Moreover, timing differences in PFC and FFA activation during memory encoding and retrieval implied a context dependence in the flow of neural information. These results support existing neurophysiological models of visual working memory developed in the nonhuman primate.