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Prefrontal dynamics associated with efficient detours and shortcuts : a combined functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencenphalography study.

Javadi, Amir-Homayoun and Patai, Eva Zita and Marin-Garcia, Eugenia and Margolis, Aaron and Tan, Heng-Ru M. and Kumaran, Dharshan and Nardini, Marko and Penny, Will and Duzel, Emrah and Dayan, Peter and Spiers, Hugo J. (2019) 'Prefrontal dynamics associated with efficient detours and shortcuts : a combined functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencenphalography study.', Journal of cognitive neuroscience., 31 (8). pp. 1227-1247.

Abstract

Central to the concept of the “cognitive map” is that it confers behavioral flexibility, allowing animals to take efficient detours, exploit shortcuts, and avoid alluring, but unhelpful, paths. The neural underpinnings of such naturalistic and flexible behavior remain unclear. In two neuroimaging experiments, we tested human participants on their ability to navigate to a set of goal locations in a virtual desert island riven by lava, which occasionally spread to block selected paths (necessitating detours) or receded to open new paths (affording real shortcuts or false shortcuts to be avoided). Detours activated a network of frontal regions compared with shortcuts. Activity in the right dorsolateral pFC specifically increased when participants encountered tempting false shortcuts that led along suboptimal paths that needed to be differentiated from real shortcuts. We also report modulation in event-related fields and theta power in these situations, providing insight to the temporal evolution of response to encountering detours and shortcuts. These results help inform current models as to how the brain supports navigation and planning in dynamic environments.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01414
Publisher statement:© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date accepted:12 April 2019
Date deposited:08 May 2019
Date of first online publication:27 June 2019
Date first made open access:29 May 2019

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