Role of selective attention and working memory , Other Subject

Role of selective attention and working memory in executive functions

The concepts of selective attention and working memory, introduced in Chapters 6 and 7, respectively, are central also for executive functions, as they involve filtering to, and active manipulation of task/goal-relevant information, in awareness. The role of working memory in executive functions is exemplified by situations where, for instance, one has to mentally plan ahead an important meeting where an important decision needs to be achieved. Relevant information about the personalities and anticipated points of view of the other participants need to be retrieved and actively worked on to form a synthesis of the situation and come up with a relevant negotiation strategy.

Similarly with the other aspects of executive functions, prefrontal cortical areas are also highly important for selective attention and working memory. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is an area that has been specifically associated with selective attention and working memory in neuroimaging studies. It is good to keep in mind, however, that both selective attention and working memory depend on more extensive networks of brain areas encompassing, for instance, parietal lobe areas in addition to prefrontal cortical areas (Dove et al., 2000, Lezak et al., 2004).
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