Distinct Stages of Moment-to-Moment Processing in the Cinguloopercular and Frontoparietal Networks

Cereb Cortex. 2017 Mar 1;27(3):2403-2417. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw092.


Control of goal-directed tasks is putatively carried out via the cinguloopercular (CO) and frontoparietal (FP) systems. However, it remains unclear whether these systems show dissociable moment-to-moment processing during distinct stages of a trial. Here, we characterize dynamics in the CO and FP networks in a meta-analysis of 5 decision-making tasks using fMRI, with a specialized "slow reveal" paradigm which allows us to measure the temporal characteristics of trial responses. We find that activations in left FP, right FP, and CO systems form separate clusters, pointing to distinct roles in decision-making. Left FP shows early "accumulator-like" responses, suggesting a role in pre-decision processing. CO has a late onset and transient response linked to the decision event, suggesting a role in performance reporting. The majority of right FP regions show late onsets with prolonged responses, suggesting a role in post-recognition processing. These findings expand upon past models, arguing that the CO and FP systems relate to distinct stages of processing within a trial. Furthermore, the findings provide evidence for a heterogeneous profile in the FP network, with left and right FP taking on specialized roles. This evidence informs our understanding of how distinct control networks may coordinate moment-to-moment components of complex actions.

Keywords: decision-making; executive control; fMRI; networks.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiology