Activation of the cognitive control network associated with information uncertainty

Neuroimage. 2021 Apr 15;230:117703. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117703. Epub 2020 Dec 30.


The cognitive control network (CCN) that comprises regions of the frontoparietal network, the cingulo-opercular network, and other sub-cortical regions as core structures is commonly activated by events with an increase in information uncertainty. However, it is not clear whether this CCN activation is associated with both information entropy that represents the information conveyed by the context formed by a sequence of events and the surprise that quantifies the information conveyed by a specific type of event in the context. We manipulated entropy and surprise in this functional magnetic resonance imaging study by varying the probability of occurrence of two types of events in both the visual and auditory modalities and measured brain response as a function of entropy and surprise. We found that activation in regions of the CCN increased as a function of entropy and surprise in both the visual and auditory tasks. The frontoparietal network and additional structures in the CCN mediated the relationship between these information measures and behavioral response. These results suggest that the CCN is a high-level modality-general neural entity for the control of the processing of information conveyed by both context and event.

Keywords: Cognitive control; Cognitive control network; Entropy; Surprise; Uncertainty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Random Allocation
  • Uncertainty*