Interactions between the anterior cingulate-insula network and the fronto-parietal network during perceptual decision-making

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Abstract

Information processing in the human brain during cognitively demanding goal-directed tasks is thought to involve several large-scale brain networks, including the anterior cingulate-insula network (aCIN) and the fronto-parietal network (FPN). Recent functional MRI (fMRI) studies have provided clues that the aCIN initiates activity changes in the FPN. However, when and how often these networks interact remains largely unknown to date. Here, we systematically examined the oscillatory interactions between the aCIN and the FPN by using the spectral Granger causality analysis of reconstructed brain source signals from the scalp electroencephalography (EEG) recorded from human participants performing a face-house perceptual categorization task. We investigated how the aCIN and the FPN interact, what the temporal sequence of events in these nodes is, and what frequency bands of information flow bind these nodes in networks. We found that beta band (13–30 Hz) and gamma (30–100 Hz) bands of interactions are involved between the aCIN and the FPN during decision-making tasks. In gamma band, the aCIN initiated the Granger causal control over the FPN in 25–225 ms timeframe. In beta band, the FPN achieved a control over the aCIN in 225–425 ms timeframe. These band-specific time-dependent Granger causal controls of the aCIN and the FPN were retained for behaviorally harder decision-making tasks. These findings of times and frequencies of oscillatory interactions in the aCIN and FPN provide us new insights into the general neural mechanisms for sensory information-guided, goal-directed behaviors, including perceptual decision-making processes.

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