Abstract

Kopp, F., Schröger, E., & Lipka, S. (2004). Neural networks engaged in short-term memory rehearsal are disrupted by irrelevant speech in human subjects. Neuroscience Letters, 354(1), 42-45.

Neural networks engaged in short-term memory rehearsal are disrupted by irrelevant speech in human subjects

Rehearsal mechanisms in human short-term memory are increasingly understood in the light of both behavioural and neuroanatomical findings. However, little is known about the cooperation of participating brain structures and how such cooperations are affected when memory performance is disrupted. In this paper we use EEG coherence as a measure of synchronization to investigate rehearsal processes and their disruption by irrelevant speech in a delayed serial recall paradigm. Fronto-central and fronto-parietal theta (4-7.5 Hz), beta (13-20 Hz), and gamma (35-47 Hz) synchronizations are shown to be involved in our short-term memory task. Moreover, the impairment in serial recall due to irrelevant speech was preceded by a reduction of gamma band coherence. Results suggest that the irrelevant speech effect has its neural basis in the disruption of left-lateralized fronto-central networks. This stresses the importance of gamma band activity for short-term memory operations.



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