Uncovering the global task-modulated brain network in chunk decomposition with Chinese characters

Neuroimage. 2022 Feb 15:247:118826. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118826. Epub 2021 Dec 16.


Chunk decomposition, which requires the mental representation transformation in accordance with behavioral goals, is of vital importance to problem solving and creative thinking. Previous studies have identified that the frontal, parietal, and occipital cortex in the cognitive control network selectively activated in response to chunk tightness, however, functional localization strategy may overlook the interaction brain regions. Based on the notion of a global brain network, we proposed that multiple specialized regions have to be interconnected to maintain goal representation during the course of chunk decomposition. Therefore, the present study applied a beta-series correlation method to investigate interregional functional connectivity in the event-related design of chunk decomposition tasks using Chinese characters, which would highlight critical nodes irrespective to chunk tightness. The results reveal a network of functional hubs with highly within or between module connections, including the orbitofrontal cortex, superior/inferior parietal lobule, hippocampus, and thalamus. We speculate that the thalamus integrates information across modular as an integrative hub while the orbitofrontal cortex tracks the mental states of chunk decomposition on a moment-to-moment basis. The superior and inferior parietal lobule collaborate to manipulate the mental representation of chunk decomposition and the hippocampus associates the relationship between elements in the question and solution phase. Furthermore, the tightness of chunks is not only associated with different processors in visual systems but also leads to increased intermodular connections in right superior frontal gyrus and left precentral gyrus. To summary up, the present study first reveals the task-modulated brain network of chunk decomposition in addition to the tightness-related nodes in the frontal and occipital cortex.

Keywords: Beta-series correlation; Chinese characters; Cognitive pattern; Hippocampus; Thalamus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • China
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Creativity
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*