Working memory (WM) is one of the most studied cognitive constructs. Although many neuroimaging studies have identified brain networks involved in WM, the time course of these networks remains unclear. In this paper we use dense-array electroencephalography (dEEG) to capture neural signals during performance of a standard WM task, the n-back task, and a blend of principal components analysis and independent components analysis (PCA/ICA) to statistically identify networks of WM and their time courses. Results reveal a visual cortex centric network, that also includes the posterior cingulate cortex, that is active prior to stimulus onset and that appears to reflect anticipatory, attention-related processes. After stimulus onset, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, lateral prefrontal prefrontal cortex, and temporal poles become associated with the prestimulus network. This second network appears to reflect executive control processes. Following activation of the second network, the cortices of the temporo-parietal junction with the temporal lobe structures seen in the first and second networks re-engage. This third network appears to reflect activity of the ventral attention network involved in control of attentional reorientation. The results point to important temporal features of network dynamics that integrate multiple subsystems of the ventral attention network with the default mode network in the performance of working memory tasks.
Harris, J. A., Luu, P., Caggiano, D. M., Geyer, A., Lewis, J., Cohn, J., & Tucker, D. M. (2014). Time-course of cortical networks involved in working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(January), 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00004