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Frontoparietal representations of task context support the flexible control of goal-directed cognition.

Waskom, ML; Kumaran, D; Gordon, AM; Rissman, J; Wagner, AD; (2014) Frontoparietal representations of task context support the flexible control of goal-directed cognition. J Neurosci , 34 (32) 10743 - 10755. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5282-13.2014. Green open access

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Abstract

Cognitive control allows stimulus-response processing to be aligned with internal goals and is thus central to intelligent, purposeful behavior. Control is thought to depend in part on the active representation of task information in prefrontal cortex (PFC), which provides a source of contextual bias on perception, decision making, and action. In the present study, we investigated the organization, influences, and consequences of context representation as human subjects performed a cued sorting task that required them to flexibly judge the relationship between pairs of multivalent stimuli. Using a connectivity-based parcellation of PFC and multivariate decoding analyses, we determined that context is specifically and transiently represented in a region spanning the inferior frontal sulcus during context-dependent decision making. We also found strong evidence that decision context is represented within the intraparietal sulcus, an area previously shown to be functionally networked with the inferior frontal sulcus at rest and during task performance. Rule-guided allocation of attention to different stimulus dimensions produced discriminable patterns of activation in visual cortex, providing a signature of top-down bias over perception. Furthermore, demands on cognitive control arising from the task structure modulated context representation, which was found to be strongest after a shift in task rules. When context representation in frontoparietal areas increased in strength, as measured by the discriminability of high-dimensional activation patterns, the bias on attended stimulus features was enhanced. These results provide novel evidence that illuminates the mechanisms by which humans flexibly guide behavior in complex environments.

Type: Article
Title: Frontoparietal representations of task context support the flexible control of goal-directed cognition.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5282-13.2014
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5282-13.2014
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 Waskom et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
Keywords: attention, cognitive control, decision making, prefrontal cortex, Adolescent, Adult, Brain Mapping, Cognition, Cues, Decision Making, Female, Goals, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Nerve Net, Oxygen, Parietal Lobe, Photic Stimulation, Prefrontal Cortex, Reaction Time, Visual Perception, Young Adult
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science > CoMPLEX: Mat&Phys in Life Sci and Exp Bio
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1466475
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