Sensory Recruitment Revisited: Ipsilateral V1 Involved in Visual Working Memory

Yi Jie Zhao, Kendrick N. Kay, Yonghong Tian, Yixuan Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The "sensory recruitment hypothesis" posits an essential role of sensory cortices in working memory, beyond the well-accepted frontoparietal areas. Yet, this hypothesis has recently been challenged. In the present study, participants performed a delayed orientation recall task while high-spatial-resolution 3 T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals were measured in posterior cortices. A multivariate inverted encoding model approach was used to decode remembered orientations based on blood oxygen level-dependent fMRI signals from visual cortices during the delay period. We found that not only did activity in the contralateral primary visual cortex (V1) retain high-fidelity representations of the visual stimuli, but activity in the ipsilateral V1 also contained such orientation tuning. Moreover, although the encoded tuning was faded in the contralateral V1 during the late delay period, tuning information in the ipsilateral V1 remained sustained. Furthermore, the ipsilateral representation was presented in secondary visual cortex (V2) as well, but not in other higher-level visual areas. These results thus supported the sensory recruitment hypothesis and extended it to the ipsilateral sensory areas, which indicated the distributed involvement of visual areas in visual working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1470-1479
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 30 2022

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • functional MRI
  • inverted encoding model
  • visual cortex
  • visual working memory

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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