A tweaking principle for executive control: Neuronal circuit mechanism for rule-based task switching and conflict resolution

Salva Ardid, Xiao Jing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A hallmark of executive control is the brain's agility to shift between different tasks depending on the behavioral rule currently in play. In this work, we propose a "tweaking hypothesis" for task switching: a weak rule signal provides a small bias that is dramatically amplified by reverberating attractor dynamics in neural circuits for stimulus categorization and action selection, leading to an all-or-none reconfiguration of sensory-motor mapping. Based on this principle, we developed a biologically realistic model with multiple modules for task switching. We found that the model quantitatively accounts for complex task switching behavior: switch cost, congruency effect, and task-response interaction; as well as monkey's single-neuron activity associated with task switching. The model yields several testable predictions, in particular, that category-selective neurons play a key role in resolving sensory-motor conflict. This work represents a neural circuit model for task switching and sheds insights in the brain mechanism of a fundamental cognitive capability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19504-19517
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume33
Issue number50
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Attractor dynamics
  • Congruency effect
  • Flexible behavior
  • Sensory-motor conflict
  • Switch cost
  • Top-down control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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