College or School
Neuroscience & Behavior
Faculty Research Advisor
Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift attention while thinking. This ability plays a large role in task-switching, which relies on neuronal communication. Task-switching is a cognitive control ability that relies on alpha (8-12 Hz) band oscillations. Previous studies have found that the OFC is an important region in task-switching ability due to its role in dictating stimulus value. The VLPFC is also an important brain region in task-switching due to its role in semantic memory. This study aimed to the effective connectivity between various brain regions during task-switching in participants. Electroencephalogram and behavioral data were collected from 70 participants as they performed a task-switching paradigm. Participants differentiated visual stimuli by color or shape depending on a cue. The cue changed every 3-5 trials, which indicated a switch trial. The EEG results were then analyzed for effective connectivity between brain regions. Inhibited communication (high alpha activity ~500 ms) was found from the right superior temporal cortex to the left orbitofrontal cortex, as well as from the right superior temporal cortex to the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Enhanced communication (low alpha activity ~500-1,300 ms) was found from the right orbitofrontal cortex to the left medial temporal cortex. The effective connectivity results suggest that the temporal cortex is shutting down effective communication to the OFC and VLPFC in order to incentivize the previous rule stored in long-term memory in order to change the value of the old salient stimulus dimension.
Hosea, Jessica A., "Examination of Effective Connectivity During Cognitive Flexibility" (2020). Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) Student Presentations. 478.