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Intraparietal Regions Play A Material General Role In Working Memory: Evidence Supporting An Internal Attentional Role
AuthorKillebrew, Kyle W.
AdvisorCaplovitz, Gideon P.
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Determining the role of intraparietal sulcus (IPS) regions in working memory (WM) remains a topic of considerable interest and lack of clarity. One group of hypotheses, the internal attention view, proposes that the IPS plays a material general role in maintaining information in WM. An alternative viewpoint, the pure storage account, proposes that the IPS in each hemisphere maintains material specific (e.g., left – phonological; right – visuospatial) information. Yet, adjudication between competing theoretical perspectives is complicated by divergent findings from different methodologies and their use of different paradigms, perhaps most notably between functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). For example, fMRI studies typically use full field stimulus presentations and report bilateral IPS activation, whereas EEG studies direct attention to a single hemifield and report a contralateral bias in both hemispheres. Here, we addressed this question by applying a regions-of-interest fMRI approach to elucidate IPS contributions to WM. Importantly, we manipulated stimulus type (verbal, visuospatial) and the cued hemifield to assess the degree to which IPS activations reflect stimulus specific or stimulus general processing consistent with the pure storage or internal attention hypotheses. These data revealed significant contralateral bias along regions IPS0-5 regardless of stimulus type. Also present was a weaker stimulus-based bias apparent in stronger left lateralized activations for verbal stimuli and stronger right lateralized activations for visuospatial stimuli. However, there was no consistent stimulus-based lateralization of activity. Thus, despite the observation of stimulus-based modulation of spatial lateralization this pattern was bilateral. As such, although it is quantitatively underspecified, our results are overall more consistent with an internal attention view that the IPS plays a material general role in refreshing the contents of WM.