Don't Think of a White Bear: An fMRI Investigation of the Effects of Sequential Instructional Sets on Cortical Activity in a Task-Switching Paradigm

Glenn R. Wylie, Daniel C. Javitt, John J. Foxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated processes involved in switching between two ongoing tasks, thought to be paradigmatic of executive control processes. Subjects were considerably slower and less accurate when switching between two tasks than when repeatedly carrying out one task, so-called "switch costs." Switch costs, however, generally occur only when more than one task is associated with each stimulus type. This has led to the surmise that switch costs may be due largely to ongoing interference from previously learned stimulus-response (S-R) associations, which are no longer relevant for the task at hand. We used a paradigm that specifically assessed this hypothesis and investigated three stages. In Stage 1, a single task was carried out with each stimulus type; in Stage 2, a second novel task was introduced for each stimulus type; and in Stage 3, subjects reverted to carrying out solely the original tasks (as in Stage 1). In Stage 1, only one task was associated with each stimulus type, whereas two tasks were associated with each stimulus type in Stages 2 and 3. We compared images obtained during Stage 3 to those obtained during Stage 1 and show that during Stage 3, there was robust activation in the network of areas associated with the Stage 2 tasks, even though these tasks were no longer relevant. Our data strongly suggest that switch costs may derive largely from continued activation of areas associated with carrying out the now-irrelevant task(s). We posit that a large component of executive control processes involves resolution of competition between potentially relevant tasks. Our data also revealed widespread activation of a frontoparietal network of areas, and we discuss how this network might be involved in mediating this competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-297
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2004

Fingerprint

Ursidae
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Costs and Cost Analysis
Executive Function

Keywords

  • Competition hypothesis
  • fMRI
  • Reconfiguration
  • Switch costs
  • Task sets
  • Task switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

Cite this

Don't Think of a White Bear : An fMRI Investigation of the Effects of Sequential Instructional Sets on Cortical Activity in a Task-Switching Paradigm. / Wylie, Glenn R.; Javitt, Daniel C.; Foxe, John J.

In: Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 21, No. 4, 04.2004, p. 279-297.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d6bf070628434240a690f4a7efe13db5,
title = "Don't Think of a White Bear: An fMRI Investigation of the Effects of Sequential Instructional Sets on Cortical Activity in a Task-Switching Paradigm",
abstract = "Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated processes involved in switching between two ongoing tasks, thought to be paradigmatic of executive control processes. Subjects were considerably slower and less accurate when switching between two tasks than when repeatedly carrying out one task, so-called {"}switch costs.{"} Switch costs, however, generally occur only when more than one task is associated with each stimulus type. This has led to the surmise that switch costs may be due largely to ongoing interference from previously learned stimulus-response (S-R) associations, which are no longer relevant for the task at hand. We used a paradigm that specifically assessed this hypothesis and investigated three stages. In Stage 1, a single task was carried out with each stimulus type; in Stage 2, a second novel task was introduced for each stimulus type; and in Stage 3, subjects reverted to carrying out solely the original tasks (as in Stage 1). In Stage 1, only one task was associated with each stimulus type, whereas two tasks were associated with each stimulus type in Stages 2 and 3. We compared images obtained during Stage 3 to those obtained during Stage 1 and show that during Stage 3, there was robust activation in the network of areas associated with the Stage 2 tasks, even though these tasks were no longer relevant. Our data strongly suggest that switch costs may derive largely from continued activation of areas associated with carrying out the now-irrelevant task(s). We posit that a large component of executive control processes involves resolution of competition between potentially relevant tasks. Our data also revealed widespread activation of a frontoparietal network of areas, and we discuss how this network might be involved in mediating this competition.",
keywords = "Competition hypothesis, fMRI, Reconfiguration, Switch costs, Task sets, Task switching",
author = "Wylie, {Glenn R.} and Javitt, {Daniel C.} and Foxe, {John J.}",
year = "2004",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1002/hbm.20003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "279--297",
journal = "Human Brain Mapping",
issn = "1065-9471",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Don't Think of a White Bear

T2 - An fMRI Investigation of the Effects of Sequential Instructional Sets on Cortical Activity in a Task-Switching Paradigm

AU - Wylie, Glenn R.

AU - Javitt, Daniel C.

AU - Foxe, John J.

PY - 2004/4

Y1 - 2004/4

N2 - Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated processes involved in switching between two ongoing tasks, thought to be paradigmatic of executive control processes. Subjects were considerably slower and less accurate when switching between two tasks than when repeatedly carrying out one task, so-called "switch costs." Switch costs, however, generally occur only when more than one task is associated with each stimulus type. This has led to the surmise that switch costs may be due largely to ongoing interference from previously learned stimulus-response (S-R) associations, which are no longer relevant for the task at hand. We used a paradigm that specifically assessed this hypothesis and investigated three stages. In Stage 1, a single task was carried out with each stimulus type; in Stage 2, a second novel task was introduced for each stimulus type; and in Stage 3, subjects reverted to carrying out solely the original tasks (as in Stage 1). In Stage 1, only one task was associated with each stimulus type, whereas two tasks were associated with each stimulus type in Stages 2 and 3. We compared images obtained during Stage 3 to those obtained during Stage 1 and show that during Stage 3, there was robust activation in the network of areas associated with the Stage 2 tasks, even though these tasks were no longer relevant. Our data strongly suggest that switch costs may derive largely from continued activation of areas associated with carrying out the now-irrelevant task(s). We posit that a large component of executive control processes involves resolution of competition between potentially relevant tasks. Our data also revealed widespread activation of a frontoparietal network of areas, and we discuss how this network might be involved in mediating this competition.

AB - Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated processes involved in switching between two ongoing tasks, thought to be paradigmatic of executive control processes. Subjects were considerably slower and less accurate when switching between two tasks than when repeatedly carrying out one task, so-called "switch costs." Switch costs, however, generally occur only when more than one task is associated with each stimulus type. This has led to the surmise that switch costs may be due largely to ongoing interference from previously learned stimulus-response (S-R) associations, which are no longer relevant for the task at hand. We used a paradigm that specifically assessed this hypothesis and investigated three stages. In Stage 1, a single task was carried out with each stimulus type; in Stage 2, a second novel task was introduced for each stimulus type; and in Stage 3, subjects reverted to carrying out solely the original tasks (as in Stage 1). In Stage 1, only one task was associated with each stimulus type, whereas two tasks were associated with each stimulus type in Stages 2 and 3. We compared images obtained during Stage 3 to those obtained during Stage 1 and show that during Stage 3, there was robust activation in the network of areas associated with the Stage 2 tasks, even though these tasks were no longer relevant. Our data strongly suggest that switch costs may derive largely from continued activation of areas associated with carrying out the now-irrelevant task(s). We posit that a large component of executive control processes involves resolution of competition between potentially relevant tasks. Our data also revealed widespread activation of a frontoparietal network of areas, and we discuss how this network might be involved in mediating this competition.

KW - Competition hypothesis

KW - fMRI

KW - Reconfiguration

KW - Switch costs

KW - Task sets

KW - Task switching

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=1842627651&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=1842627651&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/hbm.20003

DO - 10.1002/hbm.20003

M3 - Article

C2 - 15038009

AN - SCOPUS:1842627651

VL - 21

SP - 279

EP - 297

JO - Human Brain Mapping

JF - Human Brain Mapping

SN - 1065-9471

IS - 4

ER -