Neural mechanisms for stimulus-response preparation
Cookson, Savannah L.
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Human behavior relies on the accumulation of task-relevant information to narrow the range of possible responses to a single response. How do we utilize advance information that can help us select and prepare responses to a task? How is this performance benefit facilitated in the brain? Previous literature suggests a subset of brain regions involved in cue-specific processing. We investigated how informative cues affect brain processing. Specifically, to what extent is activity modulated for stimulus-related and response-related cues versus neutral cues in control- and processing-related regions? Participants made manual responses to the identity of face or place stimuli in a variation of the response cuing paradigm while fMRI BOLD signal was recorded. Prior to the stimulus, a letter cue indicating the upcoming stimulus type (face or place) or response hand (left or right) or a neutral cue was presented. We proposed three hypotheses: 1) control-related activity (e.g., prefrontal, parietal) would increase for cued vs. uncued trials; 2) activity in face and place processing regions and left and right premotor regions would activate for their respective cues, although all cues were letters; and 3) stimulus processing regions would also be activated by response cues, and vice versa.