Superior parietal cortex is critical for the manipulation of information in working memory

Michael Koenigs, Aron K. Barbey, Bradley R. Postle, Jordan Grafman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, theoretical perspectives on posterior parietal function have evolved beyond the traditional visuospatial processing models to include more diverse cognitive operations, such as long-term and working memory. However, definitive neuropsychological evidence supporting the superior parietal lobule's purported role in working memory has been lacking. Here, we studied human brain lesion patients to determine whether the superior parietal lobule is indeed necessary for working memory. We assessed a wide range of memory functions in three participant groups: superior parietal lesions (n = 19), lesions not involving superior parietal cortex (n = 146), and no brain lesions (n = 55). Superior parietal damage was reliably associated with deficits on tests involving the manipulation and rearrangement of information in working memory, but not on working memory tests requiring only rehearsal and retrieval processes, nor on tests of long-term memory. These results indicate that superior parietal cortex is critically important for the manipulation of information in working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14980-14986
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 25 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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