The role of inferior parietal and inferior frontal cortex in working memory

Juliana V. Baldo, Nina Dronkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Verbal working memory involves two major components: a phonological store that holds auditory-verbal information very briefly and an articulatory rehearsal process that allows that information to be refreshed and thus held longer in short-term memory (A. Baddeley, 1996, 2000; A. Baddeley & G. Hitch, 1974). In the current study, the authors tested two groups of patients who were chosen on the basis of their relatively focal lesions in the inferior parietal (IP) cortex or inferior frontal (IF) cortex. Patients were tested on a series of tasks that have been previously shown to tap phonological storage (span, auditory rhyming, and repetition) and articulatory rehearsal (visual rhyming and a 2-back task). As predicted, IP patients were disproportionately impaired on the span, rhyming, and repetition tasks and thus demonstrated a phonological storage deficit. IF patients, however, did not show impairment on these storage tasks but did exhibit impairment on the visual rhyming task, which requires articulatory rehearsal. These findings lend further support to the working memory model and provide evidence of the roles of IP and IF cortex in separable working memory processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Articulatory rehearsal
  • Frontal cortex
  • Parietal cortex
  • Phonological storage
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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