The brain basis for auditory working memory, the process of actively maintaining sounds in memory over short periods of time, is controversial. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in human participants, we demonstrate that the maintenance of single tones in memory is associated with activation in auditory cortex. In addition, sustained activation was observed in hippocampus and inferior frontal gyrus. Multivoxel pattern analysis showed that patterns of activity in auditory cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus distinguished the tone that was maintained in memory. Functional connectivity during maintenance was demonstrated between auditory cortex and both the hippocampus and inferior frontal cortex. The data support a system for auditory working memory based on the maintenance of sound-specific representations in auditory cortex by projections from higher-order areas, including the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
Journal of Neuroscience
Kumar, Sukhbinder; Joseph, Sabine; Gander, Phillip E.; Barascud, Nicolas; Halpern, Andrea R.; and Griffiths, Timothy D.. "A Brain System for Auditory Working Memory." Journal of Neuroscience (2016) : 4492-4505.