Conflicts at various stages of cognition can cause interference effects on behavior. Two well-studied forms of cognitive interference are stimulus–stimulus (e.g., Flanker), where the conflict arises from incongruence between the task-relevant stimulus and simultaneously presented irrelevant stimulus information, and stimulus-response (e.g., Simon), where interference is the result of an incompatibility between the spatial location of the task-relevant stimulus and a prepotent motor mapping of the expected response. Despite substantial interest in the neural and behavioral underpinnings of cognitive interference, it remains uncertain how differing sources of cognitive conflict might interact, and the spectrally specific neural dynamics that index this phenomenon are poorly understood. Herein, we used an adapted version of the multisource interference task and magnetoencephalography to investigate the spectral, temporal, and spatial dynamics of conflict processing in healthy adults (N = 23). We found a double-dissociation such that, in isolation, stimulus–stimulus interference was indexed by alpha (8–14 Hz), but not gamma-frequency (64–76 Hz) oscillations in the lateral occipital regions, while stimulus–response interference was indexed by gamma oscillations in nearby cortices, but not by alpha oscillations. Surprisingly, we also observed a superadditive effect of simultaneously presented interference types (multisource) on task performance and gamma oscillations in superior parietal cortex.
Rapid and flexible learning during behavioral choices is critical to our daily endeavors and constitutes a hallmark of dynamic reasoning. An important paradigm to examine flexible behavior involves learning new arbitrary associations mapping visual inputs to motor outputs. We conjectured that visuomotor rules are instantiated by translating visual signals into actions through dynamic interactions between visual, frontal and motor cortex. We evaluated the neural representation of such visuomotor rules by performing intracranial field potential recordings in epilepsy subjects during a rule-learning delayed match-to-behavior task. Learning new visuomotor mappings led to the emergence of specific responses associating visual signals with motor outputs in 3 anatomical clusters in frontal, anteroventral temporal and posterior parietal cortex. After learning, mapping selective signals during the delay period showed interactions with visual and motor signals. These observations provide initial steps towards elucidating the dynamic circuits underlying flexible behavior and how communication between subregions of frontal, temporal, and parietal cortex leads to rapid learning of task-relevant choices.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Cerebral Cortex
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- p. 4551-4567
- Oxford University Press
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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