Functional connectivity of task context representations in prefrontal nodes of the multiple demand network

Peter Stiers, Alexandros Goulas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A subset of regions in the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula increase their activity level whenever a cognitive task becomes more demanding, regardless of the specific nature of this demand. During execution of a task, these areas and the surrounding cortex temporally encode aspects of the task context in spatially distributed patterns of activity. It is not clear whether these patterns reflect underlying anatomical subnetworks that still exist when task execution has finished. We use fMRI in 12 participants performing alternating blocks of three cognitive tasks to address this question. A first data set is used to define multiple demand regions in each participant. A second dataset from the same participants is used to determine multiple demand voxel assemblies with a preference for one task over the others. We then show that these voxels remain functionally coupled during execution of non-preferred tasks and that they exhibit stronger functional connectivity during rest. This indicates that the assemblies of task preference sharing voxels reflect patterns of underlying anatomical connections. Moreover, we show that voxels preferring the same task have more similar whole brain functional connectivity profiles that are consistent across participants. This suggests that voxel assemblies differ in patterns of input-output connections, most likely reflecting task demand-specific information exchange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2455-2473
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Structure & Function
Volume223
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • DISTRIBUTED NETWORKS
  • ATTENTION
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • LATERAL FRONTAL-CORTEX
  • ANTERIOR CINGULATE
  • Cerebral cortex organisation
  • PATTERN-ANALYSIS
  • Resting state functional connectivity
  • COGNITION
  • ORGANIZATION
  • Inferior frontal junction
  • Task-related fMRI
  • RULES
  • PreSMA
  • Anterior insula
  • FMRI

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