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Backtracking during navigation is correlated with enhanced anterior cingulate activity and suppression of alpha oscillations and the 'default-mode' network

Javadi, A-H; Patai, EZ; Marin-Garcia, E; Margois, A; Tan, H-RM; Kumaran, D; Nardini, M; ... Spiers, HJ; + view all (2019) Backtracking during navigation is correlated with enhanced anterior cingulate activity and suppression of alpha oscillations and the 'default-mode' network. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 286 (1908) , Article 20191016. 10.1098/rspb.2019.1016. Green open access

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Abstract

Successful navigation can require realizing the current path choice was a mistake and the best strategy is to retreat along the recent path: 'back-track'. Despite the wealth of studies on the neural correlates of navigation little is known about backtracking. To explore the neural underpinnings of backtracking we tested humans during functional magnetic resonance imaging on their ability to navigate to a set of goal locations in a virtual desert island riven by lava which constrained the paths that could be taken. We found that on a subset of trials, participants spontaneously chose to backtrack and that the majority of these choices were optimal. During backtracking, activity increased in frontal regions and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, while activity was suppressed in regions associated with the core default-mode network. Using the same task, magnetoencephalography and a separate group of participants, we found that power in the alpha band was significantly decreased immediately prior to such backtracking events. These results highlight the importance for navigation of brain networks previously identified in processing internally-generated errors and that such error-detection responses may involve shifting the brain from default-mode states to aid successful spatial orientation.

Type: Article
Title: Backtracking during navigation is correlated with enhanced anterior cingulate activity and suppression of alpha oscillations and the 'default-mode' network
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1016
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1016
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: alpha, backtracking, dACC, navigation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079987
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