Laminar Cortical Dynamics of Cognitive and Motor Working Memory, Sequence Learning and Performance: Toward a Unified Theory of How the Cerebral Cortex Works
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How do the layered circuits of prefrontal and motor cortex carry out working memory storage, sequence learning, and voluntary sequential item selection and performance? A neural model called LIST PARSE is presented to explain and quantitatively simulate cognitive data about both immediate serial recall and free recall, including bowing of the serial position performance curves, error-type distributions, temporal limitations upon recall, and list length effects. The model also qualitatively explains cognitive effects related to attentional modulation, temporal grouping, variable presentation rates, phonemic similarity, presentation of non-words, word frequency/item familiarity and list strength, distracters and modality effects. In addition, the model quantitatively simulates neurophysiological data from the macaque prefrontal cortex obtained during sequential sensory-motor imitation and planned performance. The article further develops a theory concerning how the cerebral cortex works by showing how variations of the laminar circuits that have previously clarified how the visual cortex sees can also support cognitive processing of sequentially organized behaviors.