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Cereb Cortex. 2015 Oct;25(10):3654-72. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu217. Epub 2014 Sep 23.

Functional Specialization and Flexibility in Human Association Cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore Singapore Institute of Neurotechnology and Clinical Imaging Research Centre, National University of Singapore, Singapore Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and.
2
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3
Institute for Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Center Jülich, Jülich, Germany.
4
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
5
Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX, USA State Key Laboratory for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
6
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore Singapore Institute of Neurotechnology and Division of Social Sciences, Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

Abstract

The association cortex supports cognitive functions enabling flexible behavior. Here, we explored the organization of human association cortex by mathematically formalizing the notion that a behavioral task engages multiple cognitive components, which are in turn supported by multiple overlapping brain regions. Application of the model to a large data set of neuroimaging experiments (N = 10 449) identified complex zones of frontal and parietal regions that ranged from being highly specialized to highly flexible. The network organization of the specialized and flexible regions was explored with an independent resting-state fMRI data set (N = 1000). Cortical regions specialized for the same components were strongly coupled, suggesting that components function as partially isolated networks. Functionally flexible regions participated in multiple components to different degrees. This heterogeneous selectivity was predicted by the connectivity between flexible and specialized regions. Functionally flexible regions might support binding or integrating specialized brain networks that, in turn, contribute to the ability to execute multiple and varied tasks.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive ontology; functional connectivity; meta-analysis; parietal cortex; prefrontal cortex

PMID:
25249407
PMCID:
PMC4598819
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhu217
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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