Effective connectivity of working memory performance: a DCM study of MEG data

Aniol Santo-Angles, Ainsley Temudo, Vahan Babushkin, Kartik K. Sreenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual working memory (WM) engages several nodes of a large-scale network that includes frontal, parietal, and visual regions; however, little is understood about how these regions interact to support WM behavior. In particular, it is unclear whether network dynamics during WM maintenance primarily represent feedforward or feedback connections. This question has important implications for current debates about the relative roles of frontoparietal and visual regions in WM maintenance. In the current study, we investigated the network activity supporting WM using MEG data acquired while healthy subjects performed a multi-item delayed estimation WM task. We used computational modeling of behavior to discriminate correct responses (high accuracy trials) from two different types of incorrect responses (low accuracy and swap trials), and dynamic causal modeling of MEG data to measure effective connectivity. We observed behaviorally dependent changes in effective connectivity in a brain network comprising frontoparietal and early visual areas. In comparison with high accuracy trials, frontoparietal and frontooccipital networks showed disrupted signals depending on type of behavioral error. Low accuracy trials showed disrupted feedback signals during early portions of WM maintenance and disrupted feedforward signals during later portions of maintenance delay, while swap errors showed disrupted feedback signals during the whole delay period. These results support a distributed model of WM that emphasizes the role of visual regions in WM storage and where changes in large scale network configurations can have important consequences for memory-guided behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1339728
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2024


  • binding problem
  • dynamic causal model (DCM)
  • effective connectivity
  • magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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