Prefrontal lesions disrupt oscillatory signatures of spatiotemporal integration in working memory

Mohsen Parto Dezfouli, Saeideh Davoudi, Robert T. Knight, Mohammad Reza Daliri, Elizabeth L. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


How does the human brain integrate spatial and temporal information into unified mnemonic representations? Building on classic theories of feature binding, we first define the oscillatory signatures of integrating ‘where’ and ‘when’ information in working memory (WM) and then investigate the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in spatiotemporal integration. Fourteen individuals with lateral PFC damage and 20 healthy controls completed a visuospatial WM task while electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. On each trial, two shapes were presented sequentially in a top/bottom spatial orientation. We defined EEG signatures of spatiotemporal integration by comparing the maintenance of two possible where-when configurations: the first shape presented on top and the reverse. Frontal delta-theta (δθ; 2–7 Hz) activity, frontal-posterior δθ functional connectivity, lateral posterior event-related potentials, and mesial posterior alpha phase-to-gamma amplitude coupling dissociated the two configurations in controls. WM performance and frontal and mesial posterior signatures of spatiotemporal integration were diminished in PFC lesion patients, whereas lateral posterior signatures were intact. These findings reveal both PFC-dependent and independent substrates of spatiotemporal integration and link optimal performance to PFC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Cross-frequency coupling
  • Functional connectivity
  • Oscillations
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Spatiotemporal integration
  • Working memory (WM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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