Beyond working memory: The role of persistent activity in decision making

Clayton E. Curtis, Daeyeol Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since its first discovery in the prefrontal cortex, persistent activity during the interval between a transient sensory stimulus and a subsequent behavioral response has been identified in many cortical and subcortical areas. Such persistent activity is thought to reflect the maintenance of working memory representations that bridge past events with future contingent plans. Indeed, the term persistent activity is sometimes used interchangeably with working memory. In this review, we argue that persistent activity observed broadly across many cortical and subcortical areas reflects not only working memory maintenance, but also a variety of other cognitive processes, including perceptual and reward-based decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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