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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Aug 1;27(8):4073-4082. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw219.

Dissociable Fronto-Operculum-Insula Control Signals for Anticipation and Detection of Inhibitory Sensory Cue.

Cai W1, Chen T1, Ide JS2, Li CR3,4, Menon V1,5,6.

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Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.
Department of Psychiatry.
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.
Program in Neuroscience.
Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The ability to anticipate and detect behaviorally salient stimuli is important for virtually all adaptive behaviors, including inhibitory control that requires the withholding of prepotent responses when instructed by external cues. Although right fronto-operculum-insula (FOI), encompassing the anterior insular cortex (rAI) and inferior frontal cortex (rIFC), involvement in inhibitory control is well established, little is known about signaling mechanisms underlying their differential roles in detection and anticipation of salient inhibitory cues. Here we use 2 independent functional magnetic resonance imaging data sets to investigate dynamic causal interactions of the rAI and rIFC, with sensory cortex during detection and anticipation of inhibitory cues. Across 2 different experiments involving auditory and visual inhibitory cues, we demonstrate that primary sensory cortex has a stronger causal influence on rAI than on rIFC, suggesting a greater role for the rAI in detection of salient inhibitory cues. Crucially, a Bayesian prediction model of subjective trial-by-trial changes in inhibitory cue anticipation revealed that the strength of causal influences from rIFC to rAI increased significantly on trials in which participants had higher anticipation of inhibitory cues. Together, these results demonstrate the dissociable bottom-up and top-down roles of distinct FOI regions in detection and anticipation of behaviorally salient cues across multiple sensory modalities.


dynamic causal modeling; fMRI; human; prefrontal cortex; response inhibition

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