1. Neuroscience
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Persistent neural activity in auditory cortex is related to auditory working memory in humans and nonhuman primates

  1. Ying Huang  Is a corresponding author
  2. Artur Matysiak
  3. Peter Heil
  4. Reinhard König
  5. Michael Brosch
  1. Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Germany
Research Article
  • Cited 17
  • Views 1,717
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e15441 doi: 10.7554/eLife.15441

Abstract

Working memory is the cognitive capacity of short-term storage of information for goal-directed behaviors. Where and how this capacity is implemented in the brain are unresolved questions. We show that auditory cortex stores information by persistent changes of neural activity. We separated activity related to working memory from activity related to other mental processes by having humans and monkeys perform different tasks with varying working memory demands on the same sound sequences. Working memory was reflected in the spiking activity of individual neurons in auditory cortex and in the activity of neuronal populations, that is, in local field potentials and magnetic fields. Our results provide direct support for the idea that temporary storage of information recruits the same brain areas that also process the information. Because similar activity was observed in the two species, the cellular bases of some auditory working memory processes in humans can be studied in monkeys.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Ying Huang

    Special Lab Primate Neurobiology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    For correspondence
    Ying.Huang@ifn-magdeburg.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6471-8009
  2. Artur Matysiak

    Special Lab Non-Invasive Brain Imaging, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Peter Heil

    Department Systems Physiology of Learning, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Reinhard König

    Special Lab Non-Invasive Brain Imaging, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Michael Brosch

    Special Lab Primate Neurobiology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (He 1721/10-1, He 1721/10-2, SFB TR 31, A4)

  • Peter Heil
  • Reinhard König
  • Michael Brosch

LIN special project

  • Peter Heil
  • Reinhard König
  • Michael Brosch

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: The experiments were approved by the authority for animal care and ethics of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt (No. 28-42502-2-1129IfN), and conformed to the rules for animal experimentation of the European Communities Council Directive (86/609/EEC).

Human subjects: All subjects gave their written informed consent to participate in the studies which were approved by the ethics committee of the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Andrew J King, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: February 22, 2016
  2. Accepted: July 19, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 20, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: August 4, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2016, Huang et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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