Abstract: Courtney et al.
A distinct location, located in the PFC of humans, directly responsible for spatial working memory function had previously been under question. Based on the discrepancies of such an area between monkey’s and humans, where as monkeys seem to have such a location in “the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex” (Courtney et al. 1998), the same area (BA 46) in humans yields little activation during spatial working memory tasks They predicted that because the location in monkeys also lied near the FEF, that the area in humans may reside near their FEF, specifically, “just anterior” which would place the area outside of BA 46.
Courtney et al. administered working memory tasks alongside fMRI on 11 healthy human individuals. Subjects were asked to look at a screen which would project three human faces for 2 seconds at various locations on the screen. The image was followed by a 9 s memory delay followed by another face for 3 s. Subjects were either asked to remember the location (spatial) or identity (facial memory) of the faces.
Courtney et al. found distinct activation for spatial working memory tasks just anterior to the human FEF. This explains why such an area in humans had previously not been found. The location was not in relation to dorsolateral frontal region as it is found in monkeys, BA 46 in humans, but rather anterior to the FEF. An explanation for the different locations may be the result of a more evolved PFC in humans.