Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in cognitive neuroscience of the primate brain

Joaquín Fuster, Michael Guiou, Allen Ardestani, Andrew Cannestra, Sameer Sheth, Yong Di Zhou, Arthur Toga, Mark Bodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We describe the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a suitable means of assessing hemodynamic changes in the cerebral cortex of awake and behaving monkeys. NIRS can be applied to animals performing cognitive tasks in conjunction with electrophysiological methods, thus offering the possibility of investigating cortical neurovascular coupling in cognition. Because it imposes fewer constraints on behavior than fMRI, NIRS appears more practical than fMRI for certain studies of cognitive neuroscience on the primate cortex. In the present study, NIRS and field potential signals were simultaneously recorded from the association cortex (posterior parietal and prefrontal) of monkeys performing two delay tasks, one spatial and the other non-spatial. Working memory was accompanied by an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin mirrored by a decrease in deoxygenated hemoglobin. Both the trends and the amplitudes of these changes differed by task and by area. Field potential records revealed slow negative potentials that preceded the task trials and persisted during their memory period. The negativity during that period was greater in prefrontal than in parietal cortex. Between tasks, the potential differences were less pronounced than the hemodynamic differences. The present feasibility study lays the groundwork for future correlative studies of cognitive function and neurovascular coupling in the primate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Slow potentials
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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