Principal investigators

Mariko Osaka

Neural Basis of Working Memory

Main Lab Location:

CiNet (Main bldg.)



Mailing Address:

3A5, 1-4 Yamadaoka, Suita City Osaka, 565-0871


mosaka at


My research focuses on central executive function of human working memory and its brain networks. I developed the Japanese version of reading span test (J-RST), which measures the individual differences of working memory. Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), I measured the brain activation while participants performed RST and found the most important brain areas for attention contol system of working memory. I proposed the model of the central executive function based on the three main areas, that is prefrontal areas (PFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC).

These findings are important because working memory is necessary for cognitive activity for language comprehension and problem solving. Moreover, the research could be important for the understanding of memory decline in aged people.

Consequently, I have recently been investigating working memory decline, and associated neural correlates, of aged people, and the association with dementia. My results suggest that the function of preserving working memory is not only maintaining information, but also focusing attention to the important information for memorizing and inhibiting information that is not important.

Hence, we think that it should be possible for elderly people to maintain working memory by strengthening focused attention and inhibiting attention. I and my co-workers are currently attempting to show this.

Selected Publications:

Yaoi, K., Osaka, M. , & Osaka, N. (2017). Self -recognition process in the human prefrontal cortex. In M. Watanabe (Ed.), The prefrontal cortex as an executive, emotional, and social brain. Springer

Osaka, M. (2016). Working Memory as a Basis of Consciousness In H. Ishiguro, M. Osaka, T. Fujikado, M. Asada, & M. Kasaki (Eds.), Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics. B. Springer

Osaka, N., Minamoto, T., Yaoi, K., Azuma, M., Minamoto Shimada, Y., & Osaka, M. (2015). How two brains make one synchronized mind in the inferior frontal cortex: fNIRS-based hyperscanning during cooperative singing. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1811.

Osaka, M., Yaoi, K., Minamoto, T., & Osaka, N. (2014). Serial changes of humor comprehension for four-frame comic Manga: an fMRI study.  Scientific Reports, 4, 5828.

Osaka, M., Yaoi, K., Minamoto, T., & Osaka, N. (2013). When do negative and positive emotions modulate working memory performance? Scientific Reports, 3: 1375, 1-8.

Osaka, M., Otsuka, Y., & Osaka, N. (2012). Verbal to visual code switching improves working memory in older adults: An fMRI study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6: 24, 1-8.

Osaka, M., Yaoi, K., Otsuka, Y., Katsuhara, M., & Osaka, N. (2012). Practice on conflict tasks promotes executive function of working memory in the elderly. Behavioural Brain Research, 233, 90-98.

苧阪満里子 (2014). 「もの忘れの脳科学」 講談社 ブルーバックス

Announcements / News:
Lab Members:

・Mizuki Kaneda
・Miyuki Azuma