Neuroscience Information Framework

Options
Only Pubmed Central
Include Pubmed Central
Sections
Title
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Results
Supplement
Appendix
Contributions
Background
Commentary
Funding
Limitations
Caption
FILTERS

Role of the human medial frontal cortex in task switching: a combined fMRI and TMS study.

Authors:
Rushworth MF, Hadland KA, Paus T, Sipila PK
Affiliation:
Journal:
Journal of neurophysiology

Abstract

We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity when subjects were performing identical tasks in the context of either a task-set switch or a continuation of earlier performance. The context, i.e., switching or staying with the current task, influenced medial frontal cortical activation; the medial frontal cortex is transiently activated at the time that subjects switch from one way of performing a task to another. Two types of task-set-switching paradigms were investigated. In the response-switching (RS) paradigm, subjects switched between different rules for response selection and had to choose between competing responses. In the visual-switching (VS) paradigm, subjects switched between different rules for stimulus selection and had to choose between competing visual stimuli. The type of conflict, sensory (VS) or motor (RS), involved in switching was critical in determining medial frontal activation. Switching in the RS paradigm was associated with clear blood-oxygenation-level-dependent signal increases ("activations") in three medial frontal areas: the rostral cingulate zone, the caudal cingulate zone, and the presupplementary motor area (pre-SMA). Switching in the VS task was associated with definite activation in just one medial frontal area, a region on the border between the pre-SMA and the SMA. Subsequent to the fMRI session, we used MRI-guided frameless stereotaxic procedures and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to test the importance of the medial frontal activations for task switching. Applying rTMS over the pre-SMA disrupted subsequent RS performance but only when it was applied in the context of a switch. This result shows, first, that the pre-SMA is essential for task switching and second that its essential role is transient and limited to just the time of behavioral switching. The results are consistent with a role for the pre-SMA in selecting between response sets at a superordinate level rather than in selecting individual responses. The effect of the rTMS was not simply due to the tactile and auditory artifacts associated with each pulse; rTMS over several control regions did not selectively disrupt switching. Applying rTMS over the SMA/pre-SMA area activated in the VS paradigm did not disrupt switching. This result, first, confirms the limited importance of the medial frontal cortex for sensory attentional switching. Second, the VS rTMS results suggest that just because an area is activated in two paradigms does not mean that it plays the same essential role in both cases.

  1. Welcome

    Welcome to NIF. Explore available research resources: data, tools and materials, from across the web

  2. Community Resources

    Search for resources specially selected for NIF community

  3. More Resources

    Search across hundreds of additional biomedical databases

  4. Literature

    Search Pub Med abstracts and full text from PubMed Central

  5. Insert your Query

    Enter your search terms here and hit return. Search results for the selected tab will be returned.

  6. Join the Community

    Click here to login or register and join this community.

  7. Categories

    Narrow your search by selecting a category. For additional help in searching, view our tutorials.

  8. Query Info

    Displays the total number of search results. Provides additional information on search terms, e.g., automated query expansions, and any included categories or facets. Expansions, filters and facets can be removed by clicking on the X. Clicking on the + restores them.

  9. Search Results

    Displays individual records and a brief description. Click on the icons below each record to explore additional display options.

X