Friday, November 10, 2023

Exploring the neural organization of cognitive control using dense neuroimaging

2:00 PM

4464 East Hall

Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience forum featuring Graduate Student Katy Michon.

Cognitive control, the ability to regulate thoughts and actions in accordance with internally represented goals, is essential to human behavior. Two approaches are often taken to studying the neural organization of cognitive control; one that focuses on linking processes to fixed and specialized brain regions and one that assumes that control regions dynamically reorganize themselves in response to task demands. Yet despite a wealth of neuroimaging research on cognitive control, there is still much we don’t know about its neural underpinnings. One factor that may have hindered progress is a reliance on group-averaged imaging methods that implicitly assume that neural organization is fixed across different individuals.

Instead, we use dense neuroimaging, a precision neuroimaging approach combined with a large task battery, to explore the neural organization of cognitive control. We scanned two individuals for approximately nine hours while they completed 18 cognitive control tasks. Exploratory factor analysis revealed latent factors that were strongly associated with individual tasks, consistent with task-based reorganization. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed that a model with latent variables representing tasks fit group and individual data better than a model with latent variables representing cognitive control processes (shifting, inhibition, and working memory). We then replicated these results in an independent, 55-subject dataset. These results highlight the importance of task set in the functional organization of cognitive control as well as the potential of precision and dense imaging approaches to improve our understanding of the neural architecture underlying cognition.

Katy Michon

Graduate Student; Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience