Amodal processing in human prefrontal cortex

Tamber-Rosenau, Benjamin J., Dux, Paul E., Tombu, Michael N., Asplund, Christopher L. and Marois, Rene (2013) Amodal processing in human prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 33 28: 11573-11587. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4601-12.2013

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Author Tamber-Rosenau, Benjamin J.
Dux, Paul E.
Tombu, Michael N.
Asplund, Christopher L.
Marois, Rene
Title Amodal processing in human prefrontal cortex
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
Publication date 2013-07-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4601-12.2013
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 33
Issue 28
Start page 11573
End page 11587
Total pages 15
Place of publication United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Information enters the cortex via modality-specific sensory regions, whereas actions are produced by modality-specific motor regions. Intervening central stages of information processing map sensation to behavior. Humans perform this central processing in a flexible, abstract manner such that sensory information in any modality can lead to response via any motor system. Cognitive theories account for such flexible behavior by positing amodal central information processing (e.g., “central executive,” Baddeley and Hitch, 1974; “supervisory attentional system,” Norman and Shallice, 1986; “response selection bottleneck,” Pashler, 1994). However, the extent to which brain regions embodying central mechanisms of information processing are amodal remains unclear. Here we apply multivariate pattern analysis to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to compare response selection, a cognitive process widely believed to recruit an amodal central resource across sensory and motor modalities. We show that most frontal and parietal cortical areas known to activate across a wide variety of tasks code modality, casting doubt on the notion that these regions embody a central processor devoid of modality representation. Importantly, regions of anterior insula and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex consistently failed to code modality across four experiments. However, these areas code at least one other task dimension, process (instantiated as response selection vs response execution), ensuring that failure to find coding of modality is not driven by insensitivity of multivariate pattern analysis in these regions. We conclude that abstract encoding of information modality is primarily a property of subregions of the prefrontal cortex.
Keyword Short-term-memory
Dual-task interference
Human frontoparietal cortex
Posterior parietal cortex
Cognitive control
Human brain
Functional connectivity
Relevant information
Executive functions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 11 Aug 2013, 00:10:23 EST by System User on behalf of School of Psychology