Coactivation of Cognitive Control Networks During Task Switching

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Abstract

Objective: The ability to flexibly switch between tasks is considered an important component of cognitive control that involves frontal and parietal cortical areas. The present study was designed to characterize network dynamics across multiple brain regions during task switching. Method: Functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) were captured during a standard rule-switching task to identify switching-related brain regions. Multiregional psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis was used to examine effective connectivity between these regions. Results: During switching trials, behavioral performance declined and activation of a generic cognitive control network increased. Concurrently, task-related connectivity increased within and between cingulo-opercular and fronto-parietal cognitive control networks. Notably, the left inferior frontal junction (IFJ) was most consistently coactivated with the 2 cognitive control networks. Furthermore, switching-dependent effective connectivity was negatively correlated with behavioral switch costs. The strength of effective connectivity between left IFJ and other regions in the networks predicted individual differences in switch costs. Conclusions: Task switching was supported by coactivated connections within cognitive control networks, with left IFJ potentially acting as a key hub between the fronto-parietal and cingulo-opercular networks.

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