Task-specific conflict monitoring and cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex


According to the conflict monitoring theory, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are involved in detecting (i.e., monitor) and regulating (i.e., controller) the conflict, respectively. However, it has been unknown whether different types of response conflicts recruit the same monitor-controller loop. To address this issue, we developed a double-response-conflict task using color-based and location-based conflict stimuli. This task evoked two types of conflict at the response level either simultaneously or separately, and we tested neural activities in dACC and DLPFC employing the conflict adaptation paradigm. Along with behavioral task-specific conflict adaptation effects, imaging results showed task-specific conflict adaptation in dACC and DLPFC. The results also demonstrated that double-conflict processing appears to be qualitatively different from single-conflicts despite the fact that the sources of double-conflict were overlapped with two single-conflict conditions. These suggest that response conflicts from two different sources are independently processed.

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