Friday, February 2, 2007

Top-Down Control-Signal Dynamics in Anterior Cingulate and Prefrontal Cortex Neurons following Task Switching

Kevin Johnston, Helen M. Levin, Michael J. Koval, Stefan Everling
Neuron, Vol 53, 453-462, 01 February 2007

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have both been implicated in cognitive control, but their relative roles remain unclear. Here we recorded the activity of single neurons in both areas while monkeys performed a task that required them to switch between trials in which they had to look toward a flashed stimulus (prosaccades) and trials in which they had to look away from the stimulus (antisaccades). We found that ACC neurons had a higher level of task selectivity than PFC neurons during the preparatory period on trials immediately following a task switch. In ACC neurons, task selectivity was strongest after the task switch and declined throughout the task block, whereas task selectivity remained constant in the PFC. These results demonstrate that the ACC is recruited when cognitive demands increase and suggest a role for both areas in task maintenance and the implementation of top-down control.


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