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Liesefeld, Anna M.; Liesefeld, Heinrich R.; Zimmer, Hubert D. (2014): Intercommunication Between Prefrontal and Posterior Brain Regions for Protecting Visual Working Memory From Distractor Interference. In: Psychological Science, Vol. 25, No. 2: pp. 325-333
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Abstract

Because visual working memory has a very restricted capacity, good filtering mechanisms are essential for its successful functioning. A neuronal signal emitted by the prefrontal cortex is considered to be an important contributor to filtering. Proof of the functional significance of this signal during normal cognitive functioning is, however, still missing. Furthermore, research has so far neglected that the prefrontal cortex must receive input from posterior brain areas that report the necessity to filter. From human electroencephalograms, we extracted several event-related components that reflect the different subprocesses of filtering. On the basis of their timing and a clear pattern of correlations, we reason that filtering might consist of a causal chain of events that involve prefrontal and posterior cortex regions: After distractors are detected in posterior regions, a prefrontal mechanism is activated, which in turn prevents subsequent unnecessary parietal storage of distractor information.