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N-back error rate

'N-back error rate'
Quantifying the heritability of task-related brain activation and performance during the N-back working memory task: A twin fMRI study Gabrie ¨lla A.M. Blokland a,b,d, Katie L. McMahonb, Jan Hoffmanb,e, Gu Zhua, Matthew Meredithb, Nicholas G. Martin a, Paul M. Thompsonc, Greig I. de Zubicarayb,1, Margaret J. Wrighta,1,* aGenetic Epidemiology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia bFunctional MRI Laboratory, Centre for Magnetic Resonance, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia cLaboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA dDepartment of Biological Psychology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands eDepartment of Biomedical Engineering, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany 1. Introduction The localisation of task-related brain activity using fMRI, in particular during an N-back working memory task, has been used in a multitude of studies since the 1990s. Although these report somewhat mixed fi ndings, ineffi cient or abnormal function is evident in several neurodegenerative (e.g., Wishart et al., 2004) and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., Matsuo et al., 2007; Callicott et al., 1998), and in the healthy siblings of patients for some disorders (e.g., Winterer et al., 2003). Defi cits in physiological functions may therefore not only be associated with a disease, but also may refl ect familial (possibly genetic) factors predisposing to the disorder. Further, fMRI studies have demonstrated that there are varied but reproducible individual patterns of brain activity, and group fMRI studies indicate a relationship between neural activity or metabolism in some brain regions and cognitive ability (Gray et al., 2003; Haier et al., 2003; Winterer et al., 2003; Duncan et al., 2000; for a review, see Gray and Thompson, 2004). However, except for two recent twin studies (Co ?te ´ et al., 2007; Matthews et al., 2007), it is largely unknown to what extent individual differences in neural activity, as captured by fMRI, are infl uenced by genetic and environmental factors. The present study investigates the heritability of brain activationduringtheN-backworkingmemorytaskina genetically informative sample. Twin studies investigating work- ing memory performance have shown that individual variance in working memory function is moderately to highly heritable and that the covariance between working memory and general cognitive ability is largely determined by genes (e.g., Polderman et al., 2006; Ando et al., 2001; Luciano et al., 2001). Working memory has been described and discussed in various ways: as a cognitive system for the temporary storage and on-line manip- ulation of remembered information (e.g., Baddeley, 1986), as the type of memory that is active and only relevant for a short period (e.g., Fuster, 1995; Goldman-Rakic, 1995), and, most specifi cally, as the process by which a remembered stimulus is held ‘‘on-line’’ to guide behaviour in the abse
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