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Between persistently active and activity‐silent frameworks: novel vistas on the cellular basis of working memory

Kamiński, Jan and Rutishauser, Ueli (2020) Between persistently active and activity‐silent frameworks: novel vistas on the cellular basis of working memory. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1464 (1). pp. 64-75. ISSN 0077-8923. PMCID PMC7015771. doi:10.1111/nyas.14213.

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Recent work has revealed important new discoveries on the cellular mechanisms of working memory (WM). These findings have motivated several seemingly conflicting theories on the mechanisms of short‐term memory maintenance. Here, we summarize the key insights gained from these new experiments and critically evaluate them in light of three hypotheses: classical persistent activity, activity‐silent, and dynamic coding. The experiments discussed include the first direct demonstration of persistently active neurons in the human medial temporal lobe that form static attractors with relevance to WM, single‐neuron recordings in the macaque prefrontal cortex that show evidence for both persistent and more dynamic types of WM representations, and noninvasive neuroimaging in humans that argues for activity‐silent representations. A key insight that emerges from these new results is that there are several neural mechanisms that support the maintenance of information in WM. Finally, based on established cognitive theories of WM, we propose a coherent model that encompasses these seemingly contradictory results. We propose that the three neuronal mechanisms of persistent activity, activity‐silent, and dynamic coding map well onto the cognitive levels of information processing (within focus of attention, activated long‐term memory, and central executive) that Cowan's WM model proposes.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Rutishauser, Ueli0000-0002-9207-7069
Additional Information:© 2019 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Special Issue: The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience. Issue Online: 28 March 2020; Version of Record online: 13 August 2019; Manuscript accepted: 18 July 2019; Manuscript revised: 09 July 2019; Manuscript received: 04 May 2019. We thank all members of the Rutishauser Laboratory, Adam Mamelak, Aneta Brzezicka, and Peyman Golshani for discussion and Nand Chandravadia for help with editing. The work described here was supported by NIH (R01MH110831, U01NS103792, and P50MH094258), the McKnight Endowment for Neurosciences, and the NSF (BCS‐1554105). The authors declare no competing interests.
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McKnight Endowment Fund for NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:working memory; single‐neuron recordings; persistent activity; dynamic coding; static coding; attractors
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC7015771
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190819-100439720
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Official Citation:Kamiński, J. and Rutishauser, U. (2020), Between persistently active and activity‐silent frameworks: novel vistas on the cellular basis of working memory. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1464: 64-75. doi:10.1111/nyas.14213
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97993
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Aug 2019 20:57
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:35

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