Fronto-parietal network oscillations reveal relationship between working memory capacity and cognitive control

Rasa Gulbinaite*, Hedderik van Rijn, Michael X. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Executive-attention theory proposes a close relationship between working memory capacity (WMC) and cognitive control abilities. However, conflicting results are documented in the literature, with some studies reporting that individual variations in WMC predict differences in cognitive control and trial-to-trial control adjustments (operationalized as the size of the congruency effect and congruency sequence effects, respectively), while others report no WMC-related differences. We hypothesized that brain network dynamics might be a more sensitive measure of WMC-related differences in cognitive control abilities. Thus, in the present study, we measured human EEG during the Simon task to characterize WMC-related differences in the neural dynamics of conflict processing and adaptation to conflict. Although high- and low-WMC individuals did not differ behaviorally, there were substantial WMC-related differences in theta (4-8 Hz) and delta (1-3 Hz) connectivity in fronto-parietal networks. Group differences in local theta and delta power were relatively less pronounced. These results suggest that the relationship between WMC and cognitive control abilities is more strongly reflected in large-scale oscillatory network dynamics than in spatially localized activity or in behavioral task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number761
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30-Sep-2014

Keywords

  • working memory capacity
  • cognitive control
  • fronto-parietal
  • EEG
  • theta
  • connectivity
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • STROOP INTERFERENCE
  • THETA OSCILLATIONS
  • FLUID INTELLIGENCE
  • CONTROL MECHANISMS
  • RESPONSE CONFLICT
  • EXECUTIVE CONTROL
  • ATTENTIONAL CONTROL
  • SPATIAL ATTENTION
  • MEG COHERENCE

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