Interhemispheric transfer of working memories

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Visual working memory (WM) storage is largely independent between the left and right visual hemifields/cerebral hemispheres, yet somehow WM feels seamless. We studied how WM is integrated across hemifields by recording neural activity bilaterally from lateral prefrontal cortex. An instructed saccade during the WM delay shifted the remembered location from one hemifield to the other. Before the shift, spike rates and oscillatory power showed clear signatures of memory laterality. After the shift, the lateralization inverted, consistent with transfer of the memory trace from one hemisphere to the other. Transferred traces initially used different neural ensembles from feedforward-induced ones but they converged at the end of the delay. Around the time of transfer, synchrony between the two prefrontal hemispheres peaked in theta and low-gamma frequencies, with a directionality consistent with memory trace transfer. This illustrates how dynamics between the two cortical hemispheres can stitch together WM traces across visual hemifields.

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