Delayed alternation tasks are frequently used as probes of frontal lobe functioning. To clarify the neural substrates of delayed alternation performance in humans, the authors measured regional cerebral blood flow with H2 15O positron emission tomography in healthy subjects as they performed delayed spatial and object alternation. Consistent with the monkey lesion literature, increased dorsolateral prefrontal activity emerged during delayed spatial alternation but not delayed object alternation, whereas orbitofrontal activations emerged in both alternation tasks. The possible cognitive processes contributing to the orbitofrontal and dorsolateral prefrontal involvement in delayed alternation are discussed. Additional activations localized to several nonfrontal regions suggest caution in interpreting alternation deficits in patients as strictly reflecting frontal lobe impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology