Frontoparietal action-oriented codes support novel task set implementation.

Abstract

A key aspect of human cognitive flexibility concerns the ability to convert complex symbolic instructions into novel behaviors. Previous research proposes that this transformation is supported by two neurocognitive states: an initial declarative maintenance of task knowledge, and an implementation state necessary for optimal task execution. Furthermore, current models predict a crucial role of frontal and parietal brain regions in this process. However, whether declarative and procedural signals independently contribute to implementation remains unknown. We report the results of an fMRI experiment in which participants executed novel instructed stimulus-response associations. We then used a pattern-tracking procedure to quantify the contribution of format-unique signals during instruction implementation. This revealed independent procedural and declarative representations of novel S-Rs in frontoparietal areas, prior to execution. Critically, the degree of procedural activation predicted subsequent behavioral performance. Altogether, our results suggest an important contribution of frontoparietal regions to the neural architecture that regulates cognitive flexibility.

Publication
NeuroImage