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Neuroimage. 2010 Aug 1;52(1):252-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.03.078. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Distributed task coding throughout the multiple demand network of the human frontal-insular cortex.

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Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The large variety of tasks that humans can perform is governed by a small number of key frontal-insular regions that are commonly active during task performance. Little is known about how this network distinguishes different tasks. We report on fMRI data in twelve participants while they performed four cognitive tasks. Of 20 commonly active frontal-insular regions in each hemisphere, five showed a BOLD response increase with increased task demands, regardless of the task. Although active in all tasks, each task invoked a unique response pattern across the voxels in each area that proved reliable in split-half multi-voxel correlation analysis. Consequently, voxels differed in their preference for one or more of the tasks. Voxel-based functional connectivity analyses revealed that same preference voxels distributed across all areas of the network constituted functional sub-networks that characterized the task being executed.

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