Human cortical responses during one-bit delayed-response tasks: An fMRI study

Claudio Babiloni, Antonio Ferretti, Cosimo Del Gratta, Filippo Carducci, Fabrizio Vecchio, Gian Luca Romani, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Neuroimaging study of cognition across aging requires simple tasks ensuring: (i) high rate of correct performances in neurophysiological settings; and (ii) significant modulation of cortical activity. As a preliminary step, the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study tested the hypothesis that very simple delayed-response tasks fit these requirements in normal young adults. The short-term memory (STM) variant included a sequence of cue stimulus (two vertical bars), delay period (blank screen for only 5 s), go stimulus, and motor response compatible with the taller vertical bar. Noteworthy, the retention (only one bit) could be based on visuo-spatial, phonological, and somatomotor coding. In the control variant (no STM, NSTM), the cue stimulus was present during the delay period. Results showed high rate of correct performances in both tasks (about 95%). Compared to the NSTM task (delay period), the STM task enhanced cortical responses in bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal (Brodmann area 8-9 (BA 8-9)), lateral premotor (BA 6L), medial premotor (BA 6M), inferior parietal (BA 40), and superior parietal (BA 7) areas. In the STM task, cortical responses were stronger in right than left BA 8-9 and BA 6L. These results indicate that, in normal young adults, a simple STM variant of delayed-response tasks (one bit to be retained) is correctly performed and enhances bilateral fronto-parietal responses. Therefore, it may be used for future cognitive neuroimaging studies on aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2005


  • Delayed responses
  • Frontal lobe
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Normal subjects
  • Short-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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