Disentangling common from specific processing across tasks using task potency

Neuroimage. 2019 Jan 1;184:632-645. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.059. Epub 2018 Sep 24.


When an individual engages in a task, the associated evoked activities build upon already ongoing activity, shaped by an underlying functional connectivity baseline (Fox et al., 2009; Smith et al., 2009; Tavor et al., 2016). Building on the idea that rest represents the brain's full functional repertoire, we here incorporate the idea that task-induced functional connectivity modulations ought to be task-specific with respect to their underlying resting state functional connectivity. Various metrics such as clustering coefficient or average path length have been proposed to index processing efficiency, typically from single fMRI session data. We introduce a framework incorporating task potency, which provides direct access to task-specificity by enabling direct comparison between task paradigms. In particular, to study functional connectivity modulations related to cognitive involvement in a task we define task potency as the amplitude of a connectivity modulation away from its baseline functional connectivity architecture as observed during a resting state acquisition. We demonstrate the use of our framework by comparing three tasks (visuo-spatial working memory, reward processing, and stop signal task) available within a large cohort. Using task potency, we demonstrate that cognitive operations are supported by a set of common within-network interactions, supplemented by connections between large-scale networks in order to solve a specific task.

Keywords: Baseline; Effect size; Potentiation; Resting state; Reverse inference; Task modulation; Task-based fmri.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult