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Nat Neurosci. 2019 Feb;22(2):289-296. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0312-0. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Human cognition involves the dynamic integration of neural activity and neuromodulatory systems.

Author information

1
Brain and Mind Center, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. mac.shine@sydney.edu.au.
2
QIMR Berghofer, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
3
Metro North Mental Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
4
Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.
5
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
6
Brain and Mind Center, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
7
Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
8
University of Illinois, Champagne, IL, USA.
9
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.
10
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract

The human brain integrates diverse cognitive processes into a coherent whole, shifting fluidly as a function of changing environmental demands. Despite recent progress, the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for this dynamic system-level integration remain poorly understood. Here we investigated the spatial, dynamic, and molecular signatures of system-wide neural activity across a range of cognitive tasks. We found that neuronal activity converged onto a low-dimensional manifold that facilitates the execution of diverse task states. Flow within this attractor space was associated with dissociable cognitive functions, unique patterns of network-level topology, and individual differences in fluid intelligence. The axes of the low-dimensional neurocognitive architecture aligned with regional differences in the density of neuromodulatory receptors, which in turn relate to distinct signatures of network controllability estimated from the structural connectome. These results advance our understanding of functional brain organization by emphasizing the interface between neural activity, neuromodulatory systems, and cognitive function.

PMID:
30664771
DOI:
10.1038/s41593-018-0312-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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