Graph-Theoretical Study of Functional Changes Associated with the Iowa Gambling Task

Front Hum Neurosci. 2016 Jun 27:10:314. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00314. eCollection 2016.


The primary aim of this study was to examine changes in functional brain network organization from rest to the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) using a graph-theoretical approach. Although many functional neuroimaging studies have examined task-based activations in complex-decision making tasks, changes in functional network organization during this task remain unexplored. This study used a repeated-measures approach to examine changes in functional network organization across multiple sessions of resting-state and IGT scans. The results revealed that global network organization shifted from a local, clustered organization at rest to a more global, integrated organization during the IGT. In addition, network organization was stable across sessions of rest and the IGT. Regional analyses of the Default Mode Network (DMN) and Fronto-Parietal Network (FPN) revealed differential patterns of change in regional network organization from rest to the IGT. The results of this study reveal that global and regional network organization is significantly modulated across states and fairly stable over time, and that network changes in the FPN are particularly important in the decision-making processes necessary for successful IGT performance.

Keywords: Iowa Gambling Task; decision-making; fronto-parietal network; graph theory; resting state fMRI.