Quantifying the Reconfiguration of Intrinsic Networks during Working Memory.

Cohen, JR, Gallen CL, Jacobs EG, Lee TG, D'Esposito M.  2014.  Quantifying the Reconfiguration of Intrinsic Networks during Working Memory., 2014. PloS one. 9(9):e106636.


Rapid, flexible reconfiguration of connections across brain regions is thought to underlie successful cognitive control. Two intrinsic networks in particular, the cingulo-opercular (CO) and fronto-parietal (FP), are thought to underlie two operations critical for cognitive control: task-set maintenance/tonic alertness and adaptive, trial-by-trial updating. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we directly tested whether the functional connectivity of the CO and FP networks was related to cognitive demands and behavior. We focused on working memory because of evidence that during working memory tasks the entire brain becomes more integrated. When specifically probing the CO and FP cognitive control networks, we found that individual regions of both intrinsic networks were active during working memory and, as expected, integration across the two networks increased during task blocks that required cognitive control. Crucially, increased integration between each of the cognitive control networks and a task-related, non-cognitive control network (the hand somatosensory-motor network; SM) was related to increased accuracy. This implies that dynamic reconfiguration of the CO and FP networks so as to increase their inter-network communication underlies successful working memory.