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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 2005, Vol. 17, No. 11, Pages 1728-1743
(doi: 10.1162/089892905774589271)
© 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
FROST: A Distributed Neurocomputational Model of Working Memory Maintenance
Article PDF (1.33 MB)

Many studies suggest that the sustained activation underlying working memory (WM) maintenance is mediated by a distributed network that includes the prefrontal cortex and other structures (e.g., posterior parietal cortex, thalamus, globus pallidus, and the caudate nucleus). A computational model of WM, called FROST (short for FROntal-Striatal-Thalamic), is proposed in which the representation of items and spatial positions is encoded in the lateral prefrontal cortex. During delay intervals, activation in these prefrontal cells is sustained via parallel, prefrontal cortical-thalamic loops. Activation reverberates in these loops because prefrontal cortical excitation of the head of the caudate nucleus leads to disinhibition of the thalamus (via the globus pallidus). FROST successfully accounts for a wide variety of WM data, including single-cell recording data and human behavioral data.