State, trait and biochemical influences on human anterior cingulate function

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The dorsal part of the human anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) is reliably activated in situations requiring cognitive control, especially during states of conflict. However, little is known about how individual differences in the neural characteristics of the dACC and major dimensions of behavior, affect this brain response. We recruited 28 healthy adults and employed a multi-modal neuroimaging approach combined with a task designed to specifically activate the human dACC and statistical path analysis to demonstrate clear roles for intelligence, personality and concentrations of neuronalN-acetylaspartate in determining dACC activation. These influences were comparable in magnitude to those associated with the experience of conflict. Our findings extend current understandings of the neural substrates of cognitive control by modeling the effect of neuronal viability, intelligence, and personality, on dACC activation. They also highlight the importance of considering enduring personal characteristics when mapping human brain-behavior relationships.

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