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Zuhlsdorff et al 2022 Cereb Ctx_Cog Flex.pdf (682.59 kB)
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Cognitive flexibility: neurobehavioural correlates of changing one's mind

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posted on 2023-08-30, 20:18 authored by Katharina Zühlsdorff, Jeffrey Dalley, Trevor Robbins, Sharon Morein
Behavioral and cognitive flexibility allow adaptation to a changing environment. Most tasks used to investigate flexibility require switching reactively in response to deterministic task-response rules. In daily life, flexibility often involves a volitional decision to change behavior. This can be instigated by environmental signals, but these are frequently unreliable. We report results from a novel “change your mind” task, which assesses volitional switching under uncertainty without the need for rule-based learning. Participants completed a two-alternative choice task, and following spurious feedback, were presented with the same stimulus again. Subjects had the opportunity to repeat or change their response. Forty healthy participants completed the task while undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Participants predominantly repeated their choice but changed more when their first response was incorrect or when the feedback was negative. Greater activations for changing were found in the inferior frontal junction, anterior insula (AI), anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Changing responses were also accompanied by reduced connectivity from the AI and orbitofrontal cortices to the occipital cortex. Using multivariate pattern analysis of brain activity, we predicted with 77% reliability whether participants would change their mind. These findings extend our understanding of cognitive flexibility in daily life by assessing volitional decision-making.



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Cerebral Cortex




Oxford University Press

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  • Accepted version


  • eng

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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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