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Neural conflict-control mechanisms improve memory for target stimuli

Ruth Krebs (UGent) , Nico Böhler (UGent) , Maya De Belder (UGent) and T Egner
(2015) CEREBRAL CORTEX. 25(3). p.833-843
Author
Organization
Project
The integrative neuroscience of behavioral control (Neuroscience)
Abstract
According to conflict-monitoring models, conflict serves as an internal signal for reinforcing top-down attention to task-relevant information. While evidence based on measures of ongoing task performance supports this idea, implications for long-term consequences, that is, memory, have not been tested yet. Here, we evaluated the prediction that conflict-triggered attentional enhancement of target-stimulus processing should be associated with superior subsequent memory for those stimuli. By combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a novel variant of a face-word Stroop task that employed trial-unique face stimuli as targets, we were able to assess subsequent (incidental) memory for target faces as a function of whether a given face had previously been accompanied by congruent, neutral, or incongruent (conflicting) distracters. In line with our predictions, incongruent distracters not only induced behavioral conflict, but also gave rise to enhanced memory for target faces. Moreover, conflict-triggered neural activity in prefrontal and parietal regions was predictive of subsequent retrieval success, and displayed conflict-enhanced functional coupling with medial-temporal lobe regions. These data provide support for the proposal that conflict evokes enhanced top-down attention to task-relevant stimuli, thereby promoting their encoding into long-term memory. Our findings thus delineate the neural mechanisms of a novel link between cognitive control and memory.
Keywords
PREFRONTAL CORTEX, RECOGNITION MEMORY, RESOLVE CONFLICT, SYSTEMS, BRAIN, INTERFERENCE, INFORMATION, FMRI, cognitive control, conflict, fMRI, memory, prefrontal cortex, COGNITIVE CONTROL MECHANISMS, ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Krebs, Ruth, Nico Böhler, Maya De Belder, and T Egner. 2015. “Neural Conflict-control Mechanisms Improve Memory for Target Stimuli.” Cerebral Cortex 25 (3): 833–843.
APA
Krebs, R., Böhler, N., De Belder, M., & Egner, T. (2015). Neural conflict-control mechanisms improve memory for target stimuli. CEREBRAL CORTEX, 25(3), 833–843.
Vancouver
1.
Krebs R, Böhler N, De Belder M, Egner T. Neural conflict-control mechanisms improve memory for target stimuli. CEREBRAL CORTEX. 2015;25(3):833–43.
MLA
Krebs, Ruth, Nico Böhler, Maya De Belder, et al. “Neural Conflict-control Mechanisms Improve Memory for Target Stimuli.” CEREBRAL CORTEX 25.3 (2015): 833–843. Print.
@article{5942144,
  abstract     = {According to conflict-monitoring models, conflict serves as an internal signal for reinforcing top-down attention to task-relevant information. While evidence based on measures of ongoing task performance supports this idea, implications for long-term consequences, that is, memory, have not been tested yet. Here, we evaluated the prediction that conflict-triggered attentional enhancement of target-stimulus processing should be associated with superior subsequent memory for those stimuli. By combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a novel variant of a face-word Stroop task that employed trial-unique face stimuli as targets, we were able to assess subsequent (incidental) memory for target faces as a function of whether a given face had previously been accompanied by congruent, neutral, or incongruent (conflicting) distracters. In line with our predictions, incongruent distracters not only induced behavioral conflict, but also gave rise to enhanced memory for target faces. Moreover, conflict-triggered neural activity in prefrontal and parietal regions was predictive of subsequent retrieval success, and displayed conflict-enhanced functional coupling with medial-temporal lobe regions. These data provide support for the proposal that conflict evokes enhanced top-down attention to task-relevant stimuli, thereby promoting their encoding into long-term memory. Our findings thus delineate the neural mechanisms of a novel link between cognitive control and memory.},
  author       = {Krebs, Ruth and B{\"o}hler, Nico and De Belder, Maya and Egner, T},
  issn         = {1047-3211},
  journal      = {CEREBRAL CORTEX},
  keyword      = {PREFRONTAL CORTEX,RECOGNITION MEMORY,RESOLVE CONFLICT,SYSTEMS,BRAIN,INTERFERENCE,INFORMATION,FMRI,cognitive control,conflict,fMRI,memory,prefrontal cortex,COGNITIVE CONTROL MECHANISMS,ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {833--843},
  title        = {Neural conflict-control mechanisms improve memory for target stimuli},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bht283},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2015},
}

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