Storage and Executive Processes in the Frontal LobesEdward E. Smith, John Jonides
The human frontal cortex helps mediate working memory, a system that is used for temporary storage and manipulation of information and that is involved in many higher cognitive functions. Working memory includes two components: short-term storage (on the order of seconds) and executive processes that operate on the contents of storage. Recently, these two components have been investigated in functional neuroimaging studies. Studies of storage indicate that different frontal regions are activated for different kinds of information: storage for verbal materials activates Broca's area and left-hemisphere supplementary and premotor areas; storage of spatial information activates the right-hemisphere premotor cortex; and storage of object information activates other areas of the prefrontal cortex. Two of the fundamental executive processes are selective attention and task management. Both processes activate the anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.